Jürgen Klopp promised Liverpool will give everything again next season after falling just short in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
A 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield – secured through a Sadio Mane double – lifted the Reds up to a final total of 97 points but they finished one behind Manchester City in the table.
In his post-match press conference, Klopp expressed his pride in the remarkable efforts of his players across the 38 games – which included 30 wins and a single defeat.
The manager also explained his belief that Liverpool can improve again when they aim to go one better in the 2019-20 season.
Read a transcript of Klopp’s press conference below…
On his feelings after the game…
I said it now 20 times already: mixed. First and foremost, I have to say congratulations to City. I’ve said it a couple of times but I don’t want any broadcaster to miss that because that’s important, they played an incredible season. We did as well, but they won it and congratulations to Pep [Guardiola] and all the people at Manchester City.
Our season was good as well, a really good season, an unbelievable season. I can read all the stats, I can read all the numbers, it’s just really exceptional. The nice thing is if you would get an award for the biggest development jump I can remember, the boys would get that because it was completely different. We used the base from last year but made a big step, unbelievable, and there’s still a bit to come. It doesn’t feel like this in the moment, it’s not a moment for already telling people what they can think; everybody knows we will go again, 100 per cent. But in this moment, if you really want something you feel the disappointment as well. That’s of course what we feel in the moment.
It was nice to have the lap of appreciation, which you usually wouldn’t have after a situation like that, you go together with the families of the players and look at all the faces. I didn’t see anybody really on the ground, to be honest, completely done – people really loved what the boys did over the year. That’s already special after such a long season with all the things you could say about us and this club. We can decide how we deal with that and which information we can take out of that, nobody else can decide that. If we are ready to make the next step, we will make the next step. That’s the plan from tomorrow on.
On whether it was easy to deal with hearing the score of the City game…
No, obviously not. It’s difficult to prepare a team for a situation like that – to say, ‘OK, if we score and Brighton score, stay calm.’ How can you know exactly how the crowd will react? I thought it was the equaliser of Brighton, but they were obviously 1-0 up. I had no clue about that. It was a little boost in a very good atmosphere, going nuts. And then it was difficult, you could see it; Wolves used that actually in the situation.
Until then, we were really there, we controlled the game, we scored the goal and everything was fine, Wolves could not really get us. But then the 1-0 for Brighton opened the door for Wolves a little bit. But then it calmed down, it was clear when the atmosphere is not that ecstatic anymore then something happened at Brighton that we don’t like.
For us, I tried to take it like this. We only wanted to have 97 points and look after the game and [see] what it means for us then. But it’s easy to stand on the sideline and say that, it’s completely different to do it on the pitch. But I’m fine with the performance, not that it’s really important to judge it today. It’s another important thing. In very difficult circumstances, we won against a very strong Wolverhampton side 2-0. It’s impressive again, it’s just really, really good.
On any concern this is as good a season possible without winning the league…
No, I’m not worried. That was the season we played and next year we will play another season, a different season. That’s clear already. As long as City are around, with the quality they have, the financial power and all that stuff, it’s not that any other team will pass them easily, that’s clear. You need to be very, very close to perfection to win the Premier League as long as this is the case. But we made unbelievably big steps and I really expect more to come, that’s the truth. What that means at the end, I don’t know.
But if you see whatever happens to you in life as the only chance you ever had, I feel a bit for you, to be honest. There’s a lot to come, a lot of years and it’s all about you, what you do with it – and that’s what we do with it. People will tell us now it’s 30 years [since Liverpool won the league] but they have bigger problems, to be honest, all the people who will say that.
We will go again. This team tried it for the first time and I really think they did quite impressively to try the first time. And, on this road, to qualify for the Champions League final is pretty special. This team is one of the best that ever played for Liverpool, 100 per cent. But we play in a league with other very good teams, that’s what we have to accept and we do accept, no problem. We will go again, 100 per cent. But give me at least a few hours to come over that today.
On Alisson winning the Golden Glove award and the other individual accolades the players collected…
[It’s] very [impressive]. It always helps when a goalie makes a few saves. 21 clean sheets is quite impressive, well deserved. Virg won an award, I didn’t know before but I saw him carrying a boot; Trent smashed all stats for assists for full-backs and Robbo was close and nearly scored today; we have two of the top goalscorers, right? Look, if I would start telling you all the positive things I can say about this team we would sit here until an hour before the Champions League final starts, that’s the truth. It’s not really the moment for that; we know it and we feel it, it’s disappointing.
It’s not a wonderful moment, it’s not exactly like that, but we have enough time to find out, to see exactly, and feel maybe how brilliant the season was. It was brilliant, 97 points is incredible, and only because City are there it was not enough. In each other country, it would have been easily enough. But here, that’s how it is, no problem with that because that’s the competition we are in. It’s not a competition of 30 years ago, 20 years ago or 10 years ago, that’s completely different. These boys were really ready for it and they have my maximum respect.
Not only them because I have to say, a lot of people say about the Liverpool supporters that they are so desperate about winning the league and stuff like that, but how they followed this path, how they followed this way, is just incredible. This club is in the best moment for a long, long time and it will not end because there is one team with a point more. We will keep going and then we will see what we get for that. If you would have thought before the season that we will have 97 points, everybody would have taken it. But then, somebody decided there’s another team with 98 points, so that’s how it is.
On whether the team can draw on their experiences in the Champions League to challenge for the title again next season…
The Champions League is a little bit different, I don’t think you can expect to go for a second time into the Champions League final. I don’t say it will happen next year, 97 points or whatever, maybe it’s not needed, I don’t know. We will come again, 100 per cent. That’s clear. It’s similar; not the same, but it’s similar. The only thing that could have dropped my mood a little bit is if we would have lost today. It would still be a fantastic season, but I wanted to see the boys really try. The 1-0 of Brighton was difficult to deal with, but when it calmed down it was clear they [Man City] are one, two or three goals up or whatever.
When I asked after, I don’t know exactly, after 75 minutes I asked, Pep [Lijnders] told me it was 4-1 [at Brighton] – and everyone knew that without knowing it. So still being in the game, fighting for the result, scoring goals, celebrating – all of us. The fans knew the result [at Brighton], but they were still celebrating Sadio’s second goal like a completely normal goal. That is our face. We decide how much we enjoy this season and nobody else. I enjoyed it a lot. Not the final seconds of it, but all of the rest. This team is not a finished article and we will go again, 100 per cent.