The gross mismanagement in the transfer market the last few years will take a while to be corrected. Bloated squad with overrated and overpaid high transfer fee players.
Hold on a minute. There's been some howlers - every team makes them, but we brought in £120 million off Suarez and Sterling. Milner, Lallana, Allen, Lovren, Sakho, Henderson - a whole bunch who have proved worth what we paid, and are well worth a place at least as squad players, and are not going to lose us loads when/if we sell. Sturridge for £12million, Coutinho for £10million. Firmino, Origi, Clyne, did we screw up there as well? Balotelli was a disaster but we won't struggle to shift anyone we want rid of other than him.
Seems to me that what we've got is a very decent squad that's lacking a touch of magic to bring it together, or at least the ability to compensate for that with fitness, teamwork and belief like Spurs have this season (plus an extremely hard working and reliable goalscorer, something we may just have found in Origi). We're a club, and I know this isn't particularly romantic to say, that is finally running on sound financial basis. We have owners who want to compete, but who will not put in more than they can afford, and they will not take out of the club either (all six Glazer sons take £2.5million a year from Utd). Again, it's not romantic, but do we want to be City or Chelsea, dependent on the whims of their owners and, in the latter case, absolutely and completely unsustainable without them? Run by vultures like we used to be, or like Utd are? Or do we want to be like Spurs and Arsenal? Clubs that do the unglamarous thing of being sensible, season after season, knowing their limitations, but having extremely solid foundations that allows someone like a Pochettino, someone with a touch of class about them, to lift them up to a new level? We won't spend billions we don't have chasing a dream, we'll spend what we do have building foundations that mean, if we can find someone to lift us in to dreamland, we have a chance to actually reinvest and go up a level sustainably, to build ourselves into a machine that can compete season after season. I don't see a disaster when I look at our transfer dealings over the last few seasons, I see a system that seems, increasingly, to be providing money in the bank, that could do with some improvement and guidance perhaps but, then - look who we got in charge. We got in charge someone who did exactly what we're aiming for, the kind of manager Spurs perhaps have with Pochettino, only we arguably have a better (certainly wealther) base than they do. And we didn't have his pre-season for building that base of fitness.
I don't know. Maybe I'm the only one, maybe I was a bit pissed or maybe my life is just generally going pretty well at the moment, but I really didn't feel the doom and gloom everyone else seems to have done after that final.
They had, what, 4 shots on target, of which 3 went in, one of which was a marginal offside call? We had a similarly marginal call in the first half (correct but you've seen 'em given) and another 3 penalty shouts which were all, again, at the very least in that category. How often do that many decisions fail to go your way in a match? I thought two of their finishes were pretty outrageous too. We've been getting more and more reliable in the league, winning a few games with our reserve squad. We may have too many players, but I don't think we need to replace loads. A bit of magic, GK and CM for me, and all of those things are in the pipeline already. We've got a manager who, while I have a slight question mark over his flexibility, does have a winning system and the absolute ability to build belief, togetherness and to get people working for him, in a situation that isn't way over his head - he's done this before, he knows the blueprint, he wants to build with young and hungry players, he wants to build sustainably.
For my money we're in a far stronger position than we were in, say, 2005, or even when Rodgers took over. I can't wait for next season, heck, I'm excited already because we've already got Matip and Grujic in the bag, two players who add class and competition, respectively.
Sure it's a shame we lost but, for me, it's been a seriously, seriously long time since I've felt this club has solid foundations and a bright future ahead of us. And for the players who stay along for the ride, the pain of this final will absolutely help them grow, and if they're not that kind of player, Klopp will weed them out, no doubt about that.
It's the ancient cliche but here's to next season, and it's not a cliche, but here's to sustainability too. Given where we've been, I find that exciting too.