Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have enjoyed more ups and downs than a rollercoaster this season and have never really managed to sustain a decent run of form.
A recent three-match winning run raised hopes that the club could challenge for the Champions League spot this season.
However that looks unlikely following a defeat at Southampton and a draw against Tottenham.
The Reds best hope of making Europe’s elite competition for next season could lie in winning the Europa League, which will be difficult as they have been drawn against the competition favourites Dortmund in the quarter-finals.
Jurgen Klopp returns to old stomping ground
The first leg of that quarter-final takes place on Thursday night, as former-BVB hero Jurgen Klopp faces his former-side for the first time since leaving last summer. Klopp is still regarded as a major hero in Dortmund.
He not only led the club to two Bundesliga titles, but also to a Champions League final. When he took over the team were struggling and gradually he instilled his ‘heavy-metal’ style of football into the players and the team achieved major success.
Klopp will no doubt receive a very warm welcome form the fans at the Signal Iduna Park, despite disappointment in his final campaign with the club.
Thomas Tuchel doing things his own way
Germany seems to have a production line of intelligent tacticians who can create winning teams. In many ways Tuchel is similar to Klopp. He also enjoyed a successful stint as boss of Mainz and the team are playing a similar style of football to that played in Klopp’s pomp as BVB boss, although Tuchel’s side seem far more defensively solid than in Klopp’s final campaign with the club.
At 42-years-old, Tuchel seems like a highly-promising young boss and he has built on the work that Klopp had done previously at Dortmund. The team seems like a completely different one to the one that last season failed so miserably under Klopp.
BVB are enjoying far more possession under Tuchel, just like they did back in the days when the team challenged Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga crown under Klopp.
One major difference in the Klopp and Tuchel is that the latter has enjoyed a pretty successful campaign in his first season in charge. Klopp took time to succeed, although many cynics will say that arguably Tuchel inherited a better group of players than Klopp did.
There is major difference in Tuchel and Klopp though, as the former is not as animated on the touchline or with the press as Klopp, but he is developing the team is own way, and in the process has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s best up-an-coming coaches.
Could not be harder for Liverpool
The fact that Liverpool are odds of 11/2 to win Thursday night’s game illustrates the task that lies ahead of the Reds. Dortmund have not been beaten in 20 games in all competitions and have won all but two of those games.
Liverpool could not have asked for a more difficult draw in the last eight of the competition of the Europa League. In fact if Liverpool overcomes the German side then arguably Klopp’s men would become favourites to win the trophy this season.
Klopp is still attempting to cobble together a team from Brendan Rodgers players. He has tried to instil his football philosophy on the current group of players, but it has not led to any sort of consistency from his team.
No doubt there will be big changes in playing personnel at Anfield this summer and then maybe we will see what Klopp can achieve on Merseyside.
As for this season though, it would be an achievement of massive proportions if Liverpool could win the Europa League. The competition is much-maligned, mostly by English teams and press, but it holds the key to qualifying for the Champions League for the winners.
As I mentioned earlier it looks unlikely that the Reds will finish in the top-four, so the Europa League seems like the ideal backdoor entrance. Just like a spotty teenager trying to sneak into a gig, Liverpool might just find it difficult to get past security, or their case Dortmund.
Can Liverpool overcome Dortmund in the Europa League?