LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Leicester City's Ayoze Pérez clashes with Liverpool's James Milner and Adam Lallana at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s ‘big mentality challenge’ as disappointment turns to harnessing success

Liverpool have grown accustomed to fighting back from setbacks, establishing a resilient mindset and the will to go again, but their recent success flips it all on its head.

The Reds have not been short of heartbreaking setbacks throughout Jurgen Klopp‘s reign, with two coming in his first season before two subsequent runners-up places in the Champions League and Premier League.

In the process, the boss coined his side the “mentality monsters,” which has propelled Liverpool to four pieces of silverware in what has been a historic 14 months for the club.

But having clinched the most prestigious trophies in club football, the Reds have well and truly turned from hunters into the hunted, which presents an entirely new challenge.

For James Milner, it is now all about dealing with success instead of disappointments, a “big challenge” as the Reds bid to retain their Premier League title.

“[The mentality] starts with the manager, what he instils in us. He always demands the best and then that filters down to the players and the honest group we have,” he told Fox Sports Asia in a fan Q&A.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, James Milner, captain Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate with the Premier League trophy and their winners' medal as the Reds are crowned Champions after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 5-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Anybody that’s not on their game, no matter who it is whether it’s the youngest player in the squad or the oldest, they get told they’re not at the races and everyone is always pushing each other all the time and that’s so important.

“That’s why it’s a special team. I think you see when things aren’t going well for us we stick together and keep going to the death.

“And that’s another challenge for us next season. We’ve proven that we can come back from disappointments, we’ve lost European finals and come back and done better.

“We’ve gone close to winning the league and come back and gone again.

“Can we deal with success now that we’ve had a successful 12 months, that’s a different mentality again to keep going and push again and that’s a big challenge for us next season.”

And Klopp has already started to sow the seeds of what is to come, having resisted the narrative that Liverpool will be defending their league title as they will instead attack it.

“Next season, you will all make stories of it, ‘the defending champion’, all this kind of stuff. That’s why I say we will not defend anything, we will attack.”