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Liverpool need to change their mentality to progress as a team

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In a season where Liverpool finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League, their run in Europa League had proved a soothing tonic for supporters. Hopes were high after compelling wins against Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal at Anfield in the latter stages of the competition.

At half-time in the final, those hopes were turning into reality, as they led courtesy of a stunning strike by Daniel Sturridge. What occurred in the second half is symptomatic of this current squad of Liverpool players.

The moment where Alberto Moreno - not for the first time in his Liverpool career - switched off from his defensive duty a minute into the second half, the game changed instantly.

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The English side, who were so confident and comfortable on the ball in the first 45 minutes, virtually ran into the corner and hid away as their Spanish opponents showed their class to run out comfortable winners. On the face of things, it was truly a stunning turnaround, however it would not have been surprising to most Liverpool observers.

While the fightback against Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg was commendable, it has been seen all too rarely in recent seasons. It is a valid observation to say that they are timid when a bit of adversity comes their way.

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The manager Jurgen Klopp kicks every ball on the sidelines like his life depended on it, but the majority of his players are so passive on the pitch. While the German may go slightly over the top with his antics at times, you get the impression he knows his team lacks confidence during certain periods and wants them to keep their heads up, no matter what the state of the game is.

Liverpool produced a similar second half performance against Southampton in March. On that occasion, they led 2-0 at half-time and thought the job was done. They basically downed tools and let the Saints run riot in the second half. They have also coughed up a number of 1-0 leads this season while the capitulation against Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final last year still remains a haunting memory to most Reds fans.

The summer transfer window shapes as being a pivotal one for Liverpool. With the exception of James Milner and Kolo Toure, who himself faces an uncertain future at the club, there is a lack of players with a winning mentality in the team, people who know what it takes to lift a trophy.

Liverpool v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Final

It is a bit of an indictment to the rest of the squad that the 35-year-old Toure was Liverpool's best player over the 90 minutes. The more talented duo of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should take a leaf out Toure's book in terms of commitment to the cause.

This analysis of the Reds performance takes nothing away from Sevilla who were ruthless in the second half, and further illustrated the current dominance of Spanish teams in European club competitions.

Liverpool won't have European competition next season and therefore there can be no excuse why they can't put together a sustained top four push. They have shown they can match quality opponents on their day, but doing it on a consistent basis separates the great teams from the pretenders. They need to use this latest disappointment in a cup final to spur them on to greater heights.

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Topics:
Kolo Toure
Europa League
Football
Liverpool
Premier League

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