Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits “the future has already begun” as a disappointing campaign has left him wondering how his team will bounce back next season.
While the Reds boss hasn’t given up on reaching the top four late, he is realistic enough to know that Champions League football looks unlikely, with Liverpool nine points behind Newcastle.
He has made some tactical changes to his squad in recent weeks, partly with an eye to next season, but he believes that if they miss Europe they cannot afford to waste the opportunity to rebuild that would present itself.
“So the future has already started, let me put it like that, but while we are here we have to win football matches now,” Klopp said.
“If we don’t qualify for any European competition, it would obviously be a big disappointment, but we need to make sure no time is wasted during that period.
“Hopefully we can take some things from this season that are more useful than just telling us it went the wrong way.”
Klopp admits he was surprised at how quickly his famous counter-pressing game disappeared between the end of last season and the start of this one.
Having come two wins away from an unprecedented quadruple, the expectation was for another challenge on four fronts, but it just hasn’t materialized.
“What we learned this season, a lot, is how it doesn’t work,” he added.
“So from a monster pressing back to practically a non-existent side pressing back.
“I thought it was a long way to be honest, but it was pretty fast. It was pretty done.
“Going back to it to make it quite natural isn’t that easy, especially during a season where you’re constantly playing the next game.
“This is how things happen and when you try to fix them you have to turn the right screws. That’s all.
“So now we know how it doesn’t work, which is good. It is important information.
“We finally know. Because last year, when it didn’t work, we still got the result.”