Jürgen Klopp reflected on the emotions of the day, the game itself, Liverpool's overall season and the support of the fans after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Anfield.
Roberto Firmino came off the bench and scored an 89th-minute equaliser in the Premier League contest, following Jacob Ramsey’s opener for the visitors, who also saw Ollie Watkins miss a penalty during the first half.
It was a day when tributes were paid to Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they said farewell to Anfield before departing the club in the summer.
Read on for Klopp’s assessment at his post-match press conference of the game against Villa, the quartet’s send-offs and 2022-23 in total.
“Definitely, definitely [feeling emotional],” said the manager. “I saw now his [Firmino’s] kids, I’m not sure, maybe the eldest one is older than seven probably, that means I know them all since they were babies. Same for Millie.
“So, the two boys who came on obviously showed today immediately what we will miss. It’s Millie’s mentality; I don’t want to underestimate really his football – because he played really good football here and today again – but the way he comes in a game, oh my God, whoever will do that for us in the next few years, that is a high, high bar because how many games he won for us in this way is insane.
“Then Bobby comes on, plays top football, is between the lines and scores a fantastic goal. Wonderful story, well deserved the story.
“This day was not an easy day for us – no excuse for anything, it just was not easy because we all love these four boys. And it was clear somehow we have to prepare a little bit, you prepare here and there pictures, presents, these kinds of things, but first there’s a super-important game. And this part of the day was, first half, not great I would say.
“We were too much in a rush in both departments, with the ball, without the ball. Our pressing was not good, you could see we wanted but the timing was wow, ‘Who is where?’ That was not helpful. We played in their cards, they had moments in the game and they are a good football team obviously. They get a penalty, score their goal.
“It was clear in the second half we have to calm down; increase the pressure but calm down in the right areas, and that’s what we did. And then you could see the whole game was for Aston Villa super-intense as well, they were really done in the second half, cramps here and there and all these kinds of things. So we could create our moments. We scored a goal which was disallowed and scored a goal which was allowed, and so it’s a draw and that’s OK.
“I think the whole season is rather a season where we qualify for Europa League than for Champions League. We were for too long not good enough or ourselves.
“I think we made it pretty exciting. I didn’t think that was possible seven weeks ago, the boys did really well in that period. I think our people enjoyed it as well, you could see today they are not angry with us, they are looking forward to a new Premier League season and Europa League season. So do I. I know we have still a game to play.
“What the people did anyway, like the mural for Bobby Firmino... I don’t know when I was the last time that touched. Yesterday we drove to the stadium because we leave our cars here and then you pass that and it’s not finished yet, it was in the middle of something, and you think, ‘Wow’.
“How often these people do the right things in the right moment is absolutely insane. It was a big, big gesture and Bobby was really [touched]. It’s a big gesture, I have to say, really big.”