Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp, right, greets Liverpool's Mohamed Salah at the end of the Champions League quarter-final second leg soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, on April 14, 2021.

Jon Super/The Associated Press

Even when his players were basking in the afterglow of ending Liverpool’s 30-year English title drought, Jurgen Klopp was quick to temper the giddiness.

“When you think you have reached the pinnacle,” the Liverpool manager told them last July, “you are already on the way down.”

It has turned out to be a long way down this season.

Story continues below advertisement

Those few weeks last year when Liverpool revelled in simultaneously being English, European and world champions seem a distant memory.

World domination can be so fleeting. No wonder Klopp tempered any talk of building a dynasty after lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time last July.

It will be surrendered, almost certainly to Manchester City, before there was even a chance to parade it in front of fans, as pandemic restrictions persist.

The trophy cabinet will be empty again by the end of this season. Real Madrid made sure of that by ending the pursuit of a seventh European Cup on Wednesday.

A rare positive in this season of shortcomings by an injury-ravaged defence was the inexperienced Nathaniel Philipps helping to prevent the Karim Benzema-led attack from scoring at Anfield. But it was Liverpool’s own blunted attack that impeded the task of overturning the 3-1 first-leg loss to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

How Mohamed Salah will rue not adding to his 28 goals this season, denied by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and his inability to find the target in the 0-0 second leg. How expected perhaps of Roberto Firmino to squander chances – as happened a minute into the second half – when you’re a forward with just one goal in 20 games.

How much longer will Salah want to stick around to be part of a squad rebuilding, especially when there’s little sign of significant investment to give the Egyptian support up front or protection at the back?

Story continues below advertisement

The net outlay of around 40 million pounds ($55 million) proved inadequate to build on the title win compared to pre-season strengthening by the teams that have ended up as England’s remaining Champions League semifinalists – Chelsea and Manchester City.

While the foundations for City’s quadruple chase were funded by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth and Chelsea witnessed another spending splurge by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Liverpool’s ownership group from the Boston Red Sox took a more restrained approach during the pandemic.

Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara, two of the main summer signings, were only deemed worthy by Klopp of playing the last half-hour against Madrid on Wednesday.

Look now at the Premier League and Liverpool is sixth in a standings it won by 18 points last season as Manchester City coasts 11 points in front of Manchester United.

The story of the collapse can overlook the fact Liverpool was in first place in the second half of the December. City has made up being eight points behind Liverpool to surge 22 point ahead of a side whose injury-depleted resources became too stretched to cope with the demands of a season without breathing space due the pandemic-compressed schedule.

The warning signs were there when Liverpool was humiliated 7-2 by Aston Villa in the fourth match of the title defence. Then again in the 19th round when Burnley won 1-0 at Anfield. The end of Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten home run came with another 10 days remaining in the transfer window but only cheaper attempts at a quick-fix were made to fill the void left by centre backs Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez being long-term injury absences.

Story continues below advertisement

Eight of their last 15 league matches were losses, but a trio of successive victories have put Liverpool back in sight of the top four, with a gap of only three points now to close. More than a $100-million is riding on Liverpool doing so. But beyond the necessity of collecting the UEFA windfall by returning to the Champions League is the potential loss of prestige and key players not wanting a season of toils in the Europa League.

The challenge is for Klopp and the team he labelled “mentality monsters” is to rediscover that spirit.

“I think we are not in a bad moment,” Klopp said. “We have to keep fighting. We want to be in the Champions League next year but in the moment we still have to pick up more points than a lot of other teams.”

A team so dominant a year ago is now playing ketchup. Klopp has to find a way of ensuring his words after the Premier League title glory of 2020 don’t prove prescient.

“It’s not the only thing I want to talk to the boys about when I meet them in 20 years’ time,” Klopp said.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies