Liverpool fans should not despair too much about missing European football next season


Liverpool's Europa League final defeat to Sevilla has not only denied them a place in next year's Champions League but means they will not have any European football whatsoever next season.

Once the dust settles though, here's a handy guide to what's good about missing out.

More concentration on the Premier League

Jurgen Klopp
Klopp needs to manage his resources (Martin Rickett/PA)

After a marathon 63-match season, involving runs to two cup finals, a reduction of the fixture congestion may be just what Jurgen Klopp needs.

It is no coincidence Liverpool's best top-flight finish in the last seven years came in 2013-14 when, without continental competition, they almost won the Premier League. Leicester have also shown this season what can be achieved without any other distractions.

Time to get it right

Jurgen Klopp
Does this mean I have to spend more time with Danny Ings? (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pre-season is expected to be tough as Klopp gets the players up to the necessary fitness levels he requires to perform the high-pressing game he favours. With no European football, aspects around tactics, structure and decision-making come to the fore on a weekly basis - all areas which have largely taken a back seat in Klopp's first season.

The lure of European football

Joel Matip
Joel Matip striking his best tango pose (Michael Probst/AP)

Klopp has already signed two players - Schalke defender Joel Matip and Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic - to come in this summer and has his sights on several more. Klopp has already stated if a prospective new player makes reference to playing in the Champions League he is not the man for him.

Liverpool are already in negotiations with goalkeeper Loris Karius, from Klopp's former club Mainz, and are targeting Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski. Klopp's reputation and charisma should, in the short term, offset the lack of European football when it comes to attracting players.

Discovering who has big-match temperament

Kole Toure
Credit where it's due (Lynne Cameron/PA)

Klopp admitted he was surprised his players abandoned his teachings after conceding the first goal against Sevilla. He thought he had cracked the confidence/self-belief issue but there is evidently still plenty of work to do, with the Reds now losing in two cup finals in Klopp's first term - the Capital One Cup final and now the Europa League.

His squad is lacking in leaders, as was patently evident in a woeful second half in Basle with 35-year-old Kolo Toure, a man less than a fortnight away from the end of his contract, the only player to stand up and be counted. It is an area which Klopp will hope to address via the transfer market but it has probably given him a clearer idea of which players are unlikely to be up to the task of meeting his exacting standards.