Liverpool finish on 92 points but one short of Premier League champions Manchester City after both sides won on the final day; City had trailed 2-0 at one point but Reds forced to settle for second place; Liverpool’s season finishes with Champions League final on Saturday
Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to his Liverpool players after Manchester City pipped them to the Premier League title by one point and says their near-miss will increase their desire to win the Champions League on Saturday.
Liverpool looked primed to capitalise on City slipping 2-0 down to Aston Villa at the Etihad but, despite going on to beat Wolves 3-1, a remarkable comeback from Pep Guardiola’s side for a 3-2 win ensured the Premier League trophy would stay with them.
However, FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners Liverpool have a shot at further silverware next weekend in Paris when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final and Klopp believes a seventh European crown would be the perfect response to narrowly losing out on league title number 20.
“The boys have played an incredible season,” he said. “The whole journey, it’s absolutely exceptional.
“The game today said so much about these boys. We conceded an early goal, which gave us a knock. We didn’t play football like we usually play. We had to take Thiago off early. And then you still find a way, it’s outstanding. Ninety-two points is crazy.
“It’s the story of my life. I’m the record holder for not getting promoted from the German second division with the highest points tally, first division points tally as well. You have to get all the points.
“It was clear before the game a lot of things had to happen [for Liverpool to win the title]. Congratulations to Man City, Pep Guardiola, their players. We were close but in the end not close enough.
“But this season is incredible and will end next week. We have five days to prepare for the Champions League final. We face an incredibly experienced team but that’s OK. Losing the league today increased the desire to put it right next week.
“You can’t do more than give your absolute best and that’s what the boys did. I couldn’t be more proud, we had to chase the best team in the world to the wire but we will go again. We will build the team again and go again.”
Reflecting on the twists and turns of the afternoon, Klopp said that while he wasn’t always sure what the scoreline was at the Etihad, the false claims that Villa had made it 3-3, which sparked jubilant celebrations in the Anfield stands, had him for a moment.
But ultimately, the drama of the final day summed up how evenly matched the top two are, he said.