For the top managers, there is more to learn about their teams in real adversity, than through any amount of winning.
Which is why Jurgen Klopp can say, hand on heart, arriving on the season’s final day with Liverpool ’s Champions League fate in their own hands means as much to him as any of the glittering trophies they’ve won.
Victory over Palace – barring a freak result at Leicester – guarantees a top four finish, and Klopp believes this team, and the spirit they have shown against forbidding odds, should get its own place in Reds history.
“Look, I don’t know in how many years, but we will look back at our time here and this season is part of our story and our history, definitely,” he explained.
“Yes it means as much to me, (as winning a trophy) definitely. It is clear we wouldn’t come to this situation if the boys wouldn’t have shown this kind of character. They have very special character.
“For a long time it looked like this would not be a year they will talk a lot about in the future. ‘OK, that happened and then rest…forget it’. But the boys still did something really special, I have to say. Really special.”
Klopp knows Liverpool are not there yet, not after a season where they have produced the worst home run in the club’s history, a spell of six straight league defeats which almost destroyed their campaign.
But he reckons, given the amount of injuries in the key position of centre half, they have done the maximum possible in even scrapping their way to the final day with something huge still to play for. And that has taken guts, he said, guts and steel.
“This year, with the amount of injuries we have had, it was not the year to become champions. No chance. For nobody,” he added.
“As good as they are, if City have their three centre-halves out, no [they don’t win the league]. Three centre-halves of United, no. For the whole season pretty much too, that is how it is.
“We have fought back a bit, accepted the difficulties and made the best of it. And if we win on Sunday, and if we qualify for the Champions League then we made the best of it. That is it.
“Sometimes we suffer things, we don’t have a lot of influence on that. That’s why things go the wrong way but I never question the character or the mentality of this team.”
Klopp has an outside chance of getting Ozan Kabak and Diogo Jota back for the showdown with Palace, but he is likely to go with the team that showed real mental strength to win at Burnley in midweek.
And he believes whether they play in the Champions League next season or not, his team will be stronger for their experience. “It was a tough one, it is a tough one – losing all of our centre-halves, we broke our leg.
“But nothing came between us. Yes we had our moments, players were not in the best shape or the best mood. I was not in the best mood but we always found a way to stick together.
“We never blamed each other or pointed a finger at each other and said ‘it is because of you or you’. We didn’t get distracted. We always knew, we came here together, we go through this together and we will get stronger because of it.
“We have to show that next year obviously in the new season, but we will give it a proper try to use all the experiences from this year as well.”