It turned out to be one game too many for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
The charismatic German boss witnessed his side suffer a second half collapse in their 3-1 Europa League final loss to Sevilla, after Daniel Sturridge had earlier given them the lead with a sensational effort.
It is the Spanish side who will now ply their trade in the Champions League next season, leaving the Merseyside outfit with much work to do if they wish to return to the European elite.
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In truth, getting into the Champions League would have been a significant bargaining tool for Klopp, as he looks to strengthen his squad this summer, and not only did their defeat expose the frailties that currently lie within this Liverpool squad, it also makes it that much more difficult to entice big names to Anfield.
Speaking after the game to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp said: "We are responsible for not being in the Champions League next season but now we have to use the time. We have to use it. We have to use it.
“It's not about the size of the squad or how many players we have, it's about using the time for training to get better, using this experience tonight and I promise everyone, we will use it. We will use it. We will come back stronger 100 per cent."
Bayern Munich playmaker Mario Gotze worked under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and is reported to be the 48-year-old’s number one target, but should a club with Champions League football come in to try and scupper the bid, could you see him putting on the famous red jersey next season?
It is clear that many of this Liverpool squad have improved under Klopp, as witnessed by their two final defeats since he took charge in October, but to get them back into contention for major honours, a large scale restructuring must take place over the next two transfer windows if there is to be any immediate success at the club.
Players like Alberto Moreno will surely be offloaded in the summer after failing to impress, while there will also be big decisions to make surrounding the likes of captain Jordan Henderson and £30 million flop Christian Benteke.
The former Aston Villa frontman has endured a torrid first season at the club, and Klopp may decide to cut his losses and set his sights on a more trustworthy figure to partner the ever-improving Daniel Sturridge.
Of course, not playing against the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid will make things a little harder, and the manager will have to be shrewder that his predecessor Brendan Rodgers when it comes to acquiring talent, but he is a well-respected figure within the game who has an infectious attitude that makes him loved by both players and fans alike, which is no mean feat in the modern game.
With managerial powerhouses such as Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola and possibly Jose Mourinho entering the Premier League fray this summer, things are not going to get any easier. They may also be casting an eye across Stanley Park to the situation at Everton, with new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, set to invest a large sum with a view to propelling the Toffees into Champions League contention.
All these components ensure that it is going to be a crucial summer for both Klopp and Liverpool, and he will be hoping that John Henry and FSG will stump up the money he needs to make Liverpool great again.
If last night’s second half showing was anything to go by, then the honeymoon could already be over for the man trusted to bringing the good times back to Liverpool.
How will Liverpool do in the Premier League next season? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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