Liverpool suffered a bitter disappointment as three saves from Willy Caballero won Manchester City the Capital One Cup, leaving Jurgen Klopp and his Reds squad despondent.
Klopp must now prepare his side for a renewed fight in the Premier League and the Europa League, as he looks to salvage a positive conclusion to his first campaign on Merseyside.
But first, he must reflect on this deflating loss.
1) Alberto Moreno remains a defensive liability
Assessing the game during Sky Sports’ coverage on Sunday night, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher called for the replacement of two of Klopp’s first-team regulars: Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno.While Mignolet’s deficiencies have been brought up regularly throughout his time at Liverpool, Moreno has flown under the radar — this must now be addressed, as he remains a liability.
2) Jordan Henderson lacks big-game mentality
The decision to appoint Jordan Henderson captain following the departure of Steven Gerrard last summer seemed a sensible one by former Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.
While the midfielder should remain in a position of authority, his lack of a big-game mentality is worrying.Henderson is far from the lead-by-example captain that Gerrard was and it may be that Klopp needs to find that outlook in another of his players.
3) Jurgen Klopp’s tactical nous will boost Reds
Lining his side up in his regular 4-2-3-1, Klopp witnessed a solid, but unspectacular opening from the Reds.But after Fernandinho’s opener, it was clear that he needed to make a change.
Bringing on Divock Origi and Adam Lallana, and moving to a 4-4-2 diamond, swung the momentum in Liverpool’s favour, and the German highlighted a pragmatism that will prove invaluable.
4) Divock Origi will be a star at Liverpool
It is easy to forget that Origi is still in his first season with Liverpool, having spent 2014/15 on loan with Lille – and it is even easier to forget that the Belgian is just 20 years old.
But as he proved once again on Sunday, Origi is a star in the making, providing a stark contrast to the exiled Christian Benteke.He is the complete forward that Klopp can eventually build around.
5) Europa League is now priority
Victory on Sunday would have secured Liverpool a place in next season’s Europa League, but with that having evaded Klopp’s side, they must now turn to Europe’s second-tier tournament itself.
Sacrificing the league and focusing on triumph in the Europa League could turn Liverpool’s 2015/16 from failure to success.