Two cup finals, but now Liverpool are performing on a European stage, with more people watching them than for a while; further evidence that his appointment was the right one.
Two finals in seven months is an incredible achievement, add in that the only player that you have signed for the club was as emergency cover at centre-back – and has barely featured as a result – it makes the rollercoaster ride that Liverpool have had under Jurgen Klopp during the infancy of his reign all the more remarkable.
Klopp, of course, will be hoping the bright sparks of this season will be a catalyst for future success. At home they have the belief that they are a side that is capable of competing for honours – their progression to the Europa League final will only enhance that belief. Picking up silverware would actually give Liverpool the taste to compete for more and bigger prizes at that.
Although their league position does not exactly show much progress thus far under Klopp, teams in the Premier League will have looked at what is happening at Anfield with fascination.
There is a team there that is capable of beating the sides towards the top of the table. The Reds have only lost one game against the top four this season domestically – and if they manage to become flat track bullies then they will surely be in a better position come this time next year.
Winning in Europe, however, enhances your reputation around the world. It opens up a different market as more players pay attention to the side. If good players like what they see at Liverpool and Klopp shows an interest in them in the summer, it can only be a good thing for the Reds.
The Europa League run has instilled something that Liverpool never had in Europe under Klopp’s predecessor. Under Brendan Rodgers they never looked at home in Europe, they could never really adapt their style of play to the kind of game that is played on the continent, nor was there the kind of tactical discipline shown from the Ulsterman that was required, unlike Klopp.
He has tried to teach his side a game that can translate seamlessly from both European and domestic competition, and it is having more success against one type of side than the other at the moment, but as mentioned, this is Klopp’s Liverpool still in its infancy.
The final provides an opportunity to show what a successful Liverpool side could look like and making others aware that something special could be getting underway in L4.