Liverpool legend John Aldridge believes Liverpool’s run to last season’s Champions League final has ‘changed the aura’ at the football club since the players now believe they belong amongst the elite.
The Reds beat runaway English champions Manchester City and Serie A high-flyers Roma on the way to the final in Kiev.
There was no fairytale ending to a remarkable journey as they fell to a gut-wrenching 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, however, have made good on their vow to return stronger, kicking off the new season with a club record seven consecutive victories.
And Aldridge, who scored 63 goals in 104 appearances for the club, sees a clear link between the final heartache and this season’s fine form.
“There is a visible change of mentality in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team this season and it’s not just down to key signings they have made in the last year,” he explained.
“I look at the way this team is going about their business and even though they have yet to hit top form in my view, they are a side that has a belief running through their veins that suggests they are ready to go to the next level.
“Liverpool may have lost the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev last May and all of us who love the club felt the pain of that defeat, but the run in Europe’s elite competition has changed the aura around this team for good.
“The players now believe they belong on the biggest of stages, they expect to challenge for the big trophies and most significantly, the opposition are fearful of them now.”
At this stage last season, Liverpool had taken only 11 of a possible 18 points after a stuttering start to the domestic campaign. A year on, they are the only side who can still boast a 100% record, underlining their title credentials.
“When you look to the Liverpool side that started last season in such uncertain fashion and compare it to the team that have been winning games in impressive fashion over the first month of this campaign, it’s clear the team gave taken two or three leaps forward,” Aldridge said.