Jurgen Klopp has said what Liverpool achieved during the 2020/21 season was “incredible” after a raft of injuries left the club essentially finishing the campaign “on three wheels”.
The Reds went into the largely behind-closed-doors season as Premier League champions but struggled all year long, particularly on the injury front.
They managed to salvage a Champions League place on the final day of the campaign, finishing with a respectable third-place finish, and Klopp insisted that his side in particular missed the impact of having fans at games.
“When you don’t have it, you realise. The atmosphere, for example. Sometimes it is not that good in a stadium. That doesn’t really happen for us, but if it is the case you think, ‘Why was it like that?’” Klopp told The Times in an interview.
“But if you have [had] no atmosphere, you take each atmosphere [even if it’s not that good]. In some moments, it was the hardest time of our lives – at least our football lives – because you are still Liverpool but with half-cut wings. You try to fly but it is pretty difficult.
“I am an emotional coach, we are an emotional team, we are an emotional club. We are not like a little bit here, a little bit there. We need this extra bit. That was obviously not there and it was not helpful in the most difficult situation we had. Injury-wise, it was absolutely crazy.”
Klopp went on to hail Liverpool’s third-place standing as an ‘incredible’ achievement due to the intensity of last season as well as the injuries they had to overcome.
“That is why I always say, after winning the Premier League [in 2019/20], winning the Champions League [in 2019], winning other cup competitions, finishing third last season comes next pretty quickly because that was incredible how we did that in the end. We were pretty much on three wheels, getting somehow over the line,” he added.
“It was an incredibly intense season and, yes, I was more than happy for a holiday. For the first ten days, I didn’t take out the phone one time, or whatever, and ask, ‘Could we have this player?’ I couldn’t have cared less at that moment.
“Why should managers be different [from other people]? But for all of us it was the same. We were all really drained. Just finished. Done.
“I never thought more about football – and I think a lot about football – than in this period. That was really tough, while everyone was talking about the former champions and now the worst-ever defending champions.”