The Magic Ingredients of Winning!

Liverpool FC Barcelona celebrations

While I am basking in the most beautiful feeling of my team, Liverpool FC, once again pulling off another, monumental, miraculous performance to win against incredible odds against Barcelona it’s worth thinking about some of the factors why and maybe we can all take some lessons from it.

Everyone Matters

The team that went out on the pitch to face the mighty Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world wasn’t the first choice team. Many of the star names were missing and those who stepped in, players who have been pretty much second choice all season did a superb job.

…some of your team might surprise you when you ask them to step up.

Karma

At times the wonderful Barcelona were very cynical including the former Liverpool player Luis Suarez. He deliberately injured the Liverpool left back Andy Robertson, which meant he couldn’t play in the second half. His replacement scored two goals!

Philippe Countinho, the wonderful Brazilian midfielder, another former Liverpool player had an awful night. When he was with Liverpool he downed tools at a critical time to agitate for a dream move to Barcelona.

…play a good fair game, do your work ethically and honestly. It will come back in your favour.

Attitude

Jurgen Klopp, the manager from heaven always has a positive, beaming smile and an infectious enthusiasm and passion. Before this game he encouraged the team to go out and enjoy the special occasion, do what you can but make sure you enjoy it. I thunk they did just that!!

..work hard to instil a positive attitude in your team

Belief

No matter what, you have to believe that anything is possible. Jurgen told the team that he thought the task of turning around a 3-0 deficit was impossible but……he also told them that if anyone could this group of players could. They came out on the pitch believing.

…make sure your team know how great they are and believe in their capability

Morale

It is as clear as day that the morale in this team is incredible – there is a bond that has them fighting for each other and this is obvious in their behaviours, their celebrations and their social media posts.

…morale is a precious intangible, work on it

Confidence

That fragile thing, confidence. When you win and keep winning you feel unbeatable, invincible. When the opposite happens you can crumble. The best of us can lose confidence and this can happen when just a few things go against you. Understanding how this works and how you manage it is key.

…keep doing the right thing and have faith, it will bring you results

Liverpool v Barcelona

Resilience

When this team goes behind, when they get beaten they have a resilient mind, they can resist the negative feelings and believe that they have the quality to recover.

…you don’t lose, you learn for the next time. There is always a next time

Experience

There are older players who just add an extra grit and steel and maturity to the team. James Milner, that older head, who somehow manages to outrun and outfight many of the younger players can bring something special from the whole group.

…have a little thought about the older codgers like me and for the older codgers, never underestimate your value to the team

Youth

While the old guys play a valuable part the young guys can also bring freshness, vitality and quality to the team and somehow they are not out of place, even in a red hot, pressure pot atmosphere. Well done Trent and Andy Robertson!

…nurture the freshness and energy that youth brings and support them to thrive

Quality

While attitude and heart and soul will get you so far, you do need to have quality in your team. Liverpool paid big money to bring in a goalkeeper and a central defender in the last year and this quality with the right attitude makes an essential difference

…do what you can to entice the good guys and gals and what you can to hold onto them

Values and Expectations 

Some of the new players took a while to become part of this team – until they get the Liverpool way and understand what is expected of them, and can be relied to do it, they are not allowed on the pitch

…take the time with everyone you introduce to your team to ensure they get your culture and values

Quick thinking

Trent Alexexander Arnold, the young 20 year old from Liverpool gave a lesson in always being alert and looking for opportunities. When everyone else was doing the expected and taking a while to get organised for a corner, just like they do each week he spotted that they weren’t paying attention, they weren’t ready.

His alert mind spotted the gap, a momentary lapse of concentration and before anyone knew it a spontaneous, unplanned perfect ball was passed in and Liverpool had their winner, 4-0!!

…stay alert to opportunities, and encourage everyone to act on them

Staying Calm

Even under pressure you need to stay calm, even when things are going wrong, even in an intense atmosphere. Liverpool have learnt how to stay calm.

…count to 10, count to 20

Training and Hard work

Followers of Liverpool know that the pre-season training is intense and it is all about preparing the team for a gruelling season. The team work hard, run hard and more than opponents, put the opposition under pressure constantly and this takes fitness as well as hard work.

…train your team and work hard!

Learning 

Each year Klopp has learnt how to improve in a demanding English league and also how to manage a European campaign. In his first two seasons the hectic Christmas period seemed to wear his team out, which always resulted in a barren spell. He also struggled to manage both competitions. He has adapted the style of play as he has progressed and it is working!

…constantly review what you are doing, learn and adapt.

Digging Deep

When your back is against the wall you need to be able to dig deep, really deep to cope. He has “dig deepers” in this team, who keep producing the goods. Digging deep is now a habit, a hard habit to break!

…make sure you acknowledge when members of your team dig deep and how much you value it

Habits

It’s so important to get into really great, positive habits. Winning is a habit, just like hard work and always doing the right thing is a habit.

…identify the habits, the metrics that are needed to deliver success and make sure the team know and understand them

Enjoyment!

Klopp preaches to his team to enjoy their football, he preaches to the fans to enjoy the football, even the matches that seem impossible. His smile shows us that he believes it.

…work should be fun and not all serious, enjoy the experience

Management 

Jurgen Klopp manages this team, those regular players and the non regulars, the youth coming though as well as his backroom team, everyone playing their part together.

The other critical part that he manages is the crowd – he is a master of bringing them with him and showing how much and needed their support is, and the very special role that they play in generating a winning atmosphere and even more important, avoiding a negative atmosphere.

…pay attention to your team. look after them and that special dynamic

Support

Jurgen Klopp says that the incredible win would not have been possible without the support of the crowd. Not only does he bring the crowd with him and earns their support but he does the same with the players who aren’t on the pitch and the former players.

…start with you, support those around you and encourage your team to do the same

Communications

While we are talking about our industry, Klopp is a master of communications.

When he came to Liverpool, in his very first press conference he said that he would convert the fans from “Doubters to Believers‘ and in a sweep he not only won the support of every single fan but he also started a very clever process of communicating what the role of “supporters” is and the power of believing.

He is a brilliant communicator, carefully weaving his messages, carefully avoiding certain topics – he is a master!

…learn how to be a great communicator (we can help!!)

Now, enough of this blog post…back to basking!!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

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8 Responses to “The Magic Ingredients of Winning!”

  1. irishmanspeaks Says:

    OK as a now suffering Man U fan, I have no idea how you are sober enough to pen this article with some excellent insights (even if seen through a totally biased Kop viewpoint!)
    Ultimately, Liverpool are blessed with a superb man manager whom everyone can learn from. He makes people feel good and believe they are good.
    Great article, Greg. Pity about the final though!!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Klopp is a genius but he has to overcome his own little piece of history and he needs to win a final ! Thanks for reading Conor, I hope all is good with you. Greg

  2. Fergal Bell Says:

    Great article, Greg (almost as good as the result!) and some lovely insights.
    Maybe add in ‘doing your research’ – https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/the-instructions-to-liverpool-ball-boys-that-led-to-goal-for-the-ages-in-champions-league-miracle-38092590.html

    • Greg Canty Says:

      You make a great point!

      Where we lost it in my view was our ability to be able to handle being ahead in the league – I think the fans imploded with a fear of “we’re going to blow it”. After Man City crawled ahead we didn’t drop one point until the end of the season.

      • Fergal Bell Says:

        I think that’s a fair point. It seemed like there was less pressure on the team then. Mind you, they still drew all those games, while City had a couple of losses, so it wasn’t a disastrous period. It just seems like it because at one point they had put clear distance between themselves and MC.

        The Champions League might be a decent consolation prize.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        It’s still so far away … it feels like it will be in a new season !!

      • Fergal Bell Says:

        I know exactly what you mean. I’m wondering whether they’ll lack match sharpness on the night. Mind you, Spurs will be in the same boat.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        We have a great team , to win a final we should expect great competition !! Gulp ..

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