Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to his players as they ended the season with 97 points and finished second to champions Manchester City.
On a heartbreaking final Sunday of the season, Liverpool dared to believe they would end the club’s 29-year wait for a league title after City fell behind at Brigton.
Yet the slip-up Liverpool needed from pep Guardiola’s champions did not arrive as City romped to a 4-1 win to leave Klopp and Liverpool frustarted.
“Congratulations to Manchester City. We tried everything to make it as difficult as possible but not difficult enough. I couldn’t be more proud of the boys,” stated Klopp.
“It’s incredible what they did all season and today was a strange situation. We were really good until 1-0, what happened then was clear. You can’t tell the people to calm down. At that moment (when Liverpool fans celebrated Brighton’s goal) it was a shock for everyone and Wolves were there. We had to fight. In the end we scored two and kept a clean sheet. It’s nice but not how we wanted it.
“It’s clear we had to work hard and City too. Our target during the week was to get 97 points, we got that – that’s special. We want to write our own history and we did. Today feels not so good but we have plenty of time to prepare for an important game in three weeks.”
“The team made so many big steps in the last year. The boys were all there from last season apart from Alisson. He had a big impact but all the rest were here last season.
“It’s a very special season, a better season than I played with my team (Borussia Dortmund) when we were champions in Germany. But we cannot ignore one team were better.
“It’s clear we were lucky in moments, like City were. We were unlucky against City but scored in the last second against Everton and late on against Newcastle, they could have been draws as well.
“The season is a very long, hard one. You have to deal with setbacks. We were always competitive. City got the points they have because we were there. They have 198 points in two years, that’s special. We made such big steps. It’s only the first step and we’ll be there again.
“Being second in the Premier League isn’t what we wanted tonight but we’ll take it. This is a first step, that’s how we see it. The team who played the last couple of weeks were together last year apart from Alisson.
“We were 25 points off last season. If we do those same steps again that will be a season.
“I do my job. The boys deserve 100%. Congratulations to Manchester City, they played a good season. They took 198 points in two seasons, not bad.”
Liverpool strikers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah shared the Premier League’s golden boot, with Mane scoring twice on the final day of the season to finish the season with 22 goals, along with Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“We only lost one game all season. We gave everything. We got 97 points. We will fight next season for the title,” said Mane. “It is tough to finish second when we have done so many great things, but now we can look forward to the Champions League final.”
Virgil van Dijk also saluted Liverpool’s effort, as the PFA Player of the Year declared his team should be pleased with their efforts.
“I am very proud of this team, it’s a very special team and I am very proud to be part of it,” said Dutch defender Van Dijk. “We have a big final to come, we should be proud but congratulations to City but hopefully we can challenge them next year.
“We struggled a little bit today, we are human beings and it will be in your head, you cannot deny it. After such a hectic day and week we can be proud of ourselves.
“City have been outstanding but so are we. We are going to work hard again and hopefully try to do it.”
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