Jurgen Klopp‘s first full season in the Premier League is over and, by just about any reasonable expectations, it was a hugely successful campaign.
Liverpool are back in the UEFA Champions League next season — a competition which Klopp said in emphatic terms following Sunday’s season final against Middlesbrough that Liverpool “needs to be in.” On the whole, Klopp seems just as jovial in May, after 38 games, as he did in August — quotes from the BBC:
“It is a long season and when our timing got better we were unbelievably dangerous. I could not imagine this morning it would be like this. I couldn’t think it would be really tight until the end. I am really happy about this. I think people deserve this opportunity for us to be able to qualify for the Champions League.
“I asked for the results at half time and not before, so I had no idea about the Arsenal score. You have no influence and again the boys delivered.
“We are Liverpool. We have to deliver. We did it again. We have to improve and we will but for now, today, it is a big relief.
“A club like Liverpool needs to be in the Champions League. Other clubs have the same target so it is not easy to be there consistently. I am proud of the boys, we worked a lot and everything is good. Now we have to build on it.”
Three major roadblocks stand out in thinking back on Liverpool’s season: 1) early defensive struggles; 2) long-term injuries to key players through the campaign; 3) their five games without a win to begin the 2017 calendar year.
With some marked improvement in those departments, and some serious investment in the transfer window this summer, the Reds should be able to continue their climb toward title contention in Klopp’s second full season in the PL.