Jurgen Klopp insists he shares Mohamed Salah’s frustration after Liverpool missed out on a Champions League place but believes there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of next season.
Manchester United ran out 4-1 winners over Chelsea on Thursday evening to guarantee a top-four finish in the Premier League with one game to spare, while Newcastle United, Arsenal and newly crowned champions Manchester City have secured the three other Champions League places for the next campaign.
Shortly after the game, Salah said he was ‘totally devastated’ and insisted there was ‘no excuse’ for Liverpool’s failure to finish in the top four.
When asked about Salah’s comments, Klopp said on Friday: ‘I’m just a bit worried about the headlines you’ll create, to be honest. So do me a favour and try your best.
‘Of course, in a moment when it’s exact that you’re not qualified for the Champions League any more, even when I knew after the last game they needed one point, for me it was clear they would get that point, so I drew kind of a line underneath it just because I’m a very optimistic person but in these moments I couldn’t see it.
‘If it would’ve happened, we would’ve gone for it, it’s how we would’ve prepared the week, so if they had lost last night, yes, then it’s clear that we don’t have to change the mood the mood again, I said at the beginning of the week, ‘that’s it’ then in the middle of the week I say, ‘oh, all of a sudden there’s a chance’.
‘It’s completely normal, I think in the world of social media so many bad things happen constantly, I don’t think that was one of them. I think it was a normal description of his feeling.
‘In that moment directly after the game he’s right, it’s not a moment to send any optimistic messages but maybe now, a day later, I saw him in the canteen and he was smiling, I don’t know for which reason, I didn’t ask him, but he wasn’t in a bad mood. That’s it.
‘We are in a season, not since a week or whatever, we are for a long time here it was clear, it’s not from a specific point, but it was clear this will not be a historically good season.
‘I think we said everything about it that we are absolutely not happy, that we made mistakes, we couldn’t deliver often enough, we weren’t consistent enough.
‘In fact, I think in the last 10 games, if I’m right even after Dubai since we were in the training camps after the World Cup, everything was not great but the amount of points we collected since then it’s pretty good, and if we could’ve done that over the whole season we would’ve been in a different place.
‘So, yes of course there are reasons for optimistic views because the things we showed in the last few weeks that’s definitely the case. We have other reasons for optimistic views because of the atmosphere our people created in our last home game, after the Villa game the atmosphere in the stadium, the way the club said farewell, the day after that how Bobby [Firmino] said farewell, all these kind of things are absolutely the basis for a fantastic future, so we don’t have to make it bigger than it is.
‘It’s a football season, we didn’t deliver what everybody wanted and expected, rightly so, but we are still really united. And that’s the good thing about it, if you can go through difficult moments like we did last year, last season, I think that’s a really good basis for a better future.
‘I find a lot of reasons for an optimistic view but I understand after the game [when Manchester United beat Chelsea] directly when it was decided that was the moment when you feel it. That was for me no different than it was for Mo. Even when I might have hoped a little bit less than him, I know that’s completely fine.
‘The dressing room is not in a bad mood, we learned to deal with the situation, we didn’t get divided in one moment between manager and team, which is super helpful. We didn’t point fingers and say, ‘it was because of you’. That’s all good.
‘If you don’t qualify for the Champions League the best possible place is fifth, so that’s what we did. If you asked me 10 games ago if that’s possible I’d have said, ‘no, I can’t see that, we have to play much better’. That the boys did that is really good, it’s not perfect, we didn’t end up in fifth place because the last 10 games, we ended up there because of the lack of consistency before that.
‘Yes, we are very self-critical but there is no reason why we should put our head down and leave it there until the new season starts. I’ve seen very good signs, that’s the things I’ll take for next season.’