Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits in the immediate hours of one of the worst nights of his life following their 2018 Champions League final defeat he saw a glimmer of hope.
As players and staff prepared to board their “horrendous” flight home from Kiev after losing 3-1 to Real Madrid one simple thought flashed through the German’s mind.
“Do we come back next year?”
It proved to be prophetic as 12 months later Liverpool beat Tottenham in the Spanish capital to lift their sixth European Cup.
As they chase their seventh in Paris against Real, a repeat of the 1981 final which they won to make it three in five years, Klopp was asked for his recollections of what was his second Champions League final defeat after losing to Bayern Munich as Borussia Dortmund boss in 2013.
“It started as one of the worst nights in my life,” he said ahead of their third final in five years.
“I remember actually only a little glimpse of light while standing in the queue at the airport where we had to go through a security check going to the plane.
“I had this thought there… ‘Do we come back next year?’. But I actually remembered it only a year later.
“I didn’t think about it all throughout the whole (2018-19) Champions League campaign, just when we qualified for the final, I remembered there was something, and I remembered that was there.
“It wasn’t a clear thought or idea that from here we will go: ‘That’s perfect, now we are rock bottom and from here we can start again like a phoenix’. It was just this one moment.”
From the ashes of Kiev sprang a new era under Klopp. They had already failed in two previous finals – the Carabao Cup and Europa League – in his first season but he knew there was something there he could work with.
But first they had to get through the heartbreak of two late Gareth Bale goals, in addition to an awful performance by their concussed goalkeeper Loris Karius, with the score at 1-1.
After an “horrendous” flight back Klopp said the worst part was reuniting with tearful family and friends – who had returned separately – at the training ground.
He went home and at his house, which formerly belonged to ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, with assistant manager Peter Krawietz, Campino – singer with the German punk band Die Toten Hosen and others, they started drinking and then singing.
Someone recorded them and the video clip went viral.
“The flight was obviously horrendous. The feeling was down. When we arrived at Melwood on our bus, all the wives, girlfriends, friends, everybody was crying. Unbelievable,” said Klopp.
“We were not crying. I cry quite frequently in these similar situations but not that day. I was going ‘Eh, what’s going on?’.
“We went to the house. There was a big vase in the guest toilet and Peter Krawietz comes out (motioning to lift like a trophy above his head) and goes ‘It looks like the Champions League trophy a little bit’ and everybody took it and had pictures with it.
“One of the guests is probably the most famous singer in Germany, Campino, a good friend and massive LFC supporter, and then the song starts.
— Die Toten Hosen (@dietotenhosen) May 26, 2018
“We were all drunk; we sang it and recorded it on a smartphone and then somebody said ‘We have to put that out, the world needs that as well’.
“It’s not a good moment when you are slightly drunk to make a decision like that.
“Campino called his agency at home and said ‘Put it out on Twitter’ and they said ‘Let me speak to Jurgen, if he really wants that?’
“And he was lying outside in socks, in the rain, on the grass… ‘Jurgen, Jurgen. Do you really want to do it?’. ‘Yeah, of course!’. So bam, it was out. Then it all started.
“It pictured the mood we were in. It was already then… we were over it. The new season had started already and it started with that.
“I really think our Champions League story so far is a pretty special one. And it’s to be continued.”