The start of the new Premier League season has finally allowed Liverpool fans to get over the Europa League defeat to Sevilla in May.
Jurgen Klopp’s team were outclassed by their Spanish opponents in Basel, who came from a goal behind to win the trophy for the third-straight season.
Daniel Sturridge gave the Reds the perfect start but Kevin Gameiro equalised within 17 seconds of the restart. A six-minute brace from Coke sealed Liverpool’s fate.
It was Liverpool’s second cup final defeat of the season following their defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup.
But considering Jurgen Klopp only arrived at Anfield in October, there wasn’t too much disappointment surrounding both losses. Making it to the final two in both tournaments is, hopefully, a sign of things to come.
Klopp worked hard in the summer to ingrain his all-out pressing style - which was their undoing in Basel - into his players, and early signs point to some improvement.
Problems in defence remain but wins at Arsenal and against Leicester City have been noted by the rest of the Premier League.
Harking back to that defeat to Sevilla, Sir Alex Ferguson has pinpointed just what went wrong for Liverpool in a new UEFA technical report.
The Manchester United legend is one of UEFA’s technical experts in the report, which will analyse the 2016-17 Champions League and Europa League competitions, and reckons Liverpool’s players were simply too exhausted to continue pressing Sevilla.
“In the second half Liverpool had no energy, they could not get to the ball,” Ferguson, who won the Champions League twice with United, said.
“The space in midfield became bigger. I never had a team who could press a ball all season.”
According to the Independent, Ferguson did reserve praise for Liverpool’s ability to unsettle Sevilla in the early stages of the contest. The Scot also commended Klopp’s potential to return Liverpool to the heights of yesteryear.
Studying Real Madrid’s shootout win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final, Ferguson thinks tactics played less of a role.
“As a game, it had its moments,” he continued. “But it will be remembered for two teams driven by desire rather than tactical manoeuvring.”