Jurgen Klopp insisted that Liverpool’s dressing room remains united after failing to finish in the Premier League top four.
The Reds have missed out on Champions League qualification for next season. Despite a late flurry of seven wins in the past eight games, they were unable to reel in either Manchester United or Newcastle United. Man Utd’s victory over Chelsea last night confirmed that Liverpool will be competing in the Europa League in 2023-24.
Mo Salah admitted on social media that he was devastated Liverpool would not be in Europe’s elite club competition and apologised to supporters.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference before Sunday’s season finale against Southampton, Klopp insisted Salah was smiling in the canteen ahead of training this morning. And Klopp has no problems with his talisman’s message.
Klopp said: “Of course, in the moment, when it is a fact we cannot qualify for the Champions League. We knew after the last game the other teams needed one point and it was clear they’d get that point so I kind of drew a line under it. I’m a very optimistic person but I couldn’t see it. If it would have happened, that’s how we would have prepared for the week.
“If they’d have lost last night we’d have gone for it but it’s clear we don't have to change the mood again. I said at the start of the week we don’t have to go for it, then in the middle of the week, I said all of a sudden there’s a chance. In the world of social media, so many bad things happen but that wasn’t one of them. It was just his feeling and in the moment after the game, he’s right. It’s not a moment to send any optimistic messages but maybe an hour or a day later - I saw him in the canteen now and he was smiling, he was not in a bad mood.
“It was clear from a specific point this would not be a historically good season. We said we are not happy, made mistakes, and wasn’t consistent enough but in the last 10 games, even after the World Cup the amount of points we collected is pretty good.
“Of course, there are reasons to be optimistic. We have other reasons because of the atmosphere our people made after the Villa game, the way the club said farewell, the day after how Bobby said farewell. It’s a football season, we didn’t deliver what everyone expected - rightly so - but we are really united. It’s a really good base for a better future and I find a lot of reasons for an optimistic view but I understand after the game, directly after it was decided, it’s the moment you feel it. It was not different for me than it was for Mo, although I maybe feel it a little bit less than him. That’s completely fine.
“The dressing room is good, we learned to deal with the situation, we didn’t get divided between manager and team which is super helpful. We didn’t point figures at each other, that’s all good.”