By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits his side failed to live up to expectations this season and has no issue with Mohamed Salah saying the team let down fans.
Writing on social media after Manchester United’s win over Chelsea on Thursday night consigned Liverpool to Europa League football, the Egypt international said he was “devastated” and there was “absolutely no excuse” for not making the top four.
Klopp had already resigned himself to not playing Champions League next season and admits he even thought fifth place was out of reach prior to their current 10-match unbeaten run, which includes seven victories.
I’m totally devastated. There’s absolutely no excuse for this. We had everything we needed to make it to next year’s Champions League and we failed. We are Liverpool and qualifying to the competition is the bare minimum. I am sorry but it’s too soon for an uplifting or optimistic… pic.twitter.com/qZmA9WsueM
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) May 25, 2023
“It was a just a normal description of his situation, of his feeling, and in that moment directly after the game he’s right, it’s not the moment to immediately send any optimistic messages,” said Klopp.
“But I saw him now in the canteen and he was smiling. I don’t know for which reason as I didn’t ask him, but he is not in a bad mood. That’s it.
“We didn’t deliver what everybody wanted or expected but but we are still really united, that’s the good thing about it.
“The dressing room is not in a bad mood. We have learned to deal with the situation. We didn’t get divided in one moment between manager and team, which is super helpful.
Introducing: Your #PL top four for 2022/23 👏 pic.twitter.com/zYC16Zh3rf
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 25, 2023
“For a long time and it was clear from a specific point on it would not be a historically good season. We made mistakes, we couldn’t deliver often enough and were not consistent enough.
“We didn’t point fingers at each other. That’s all good. If you don’t qualify for the Champions League, the best place you can possibly end up is fifth, so that’s what we did.
“If you’d have asked me 10 games ago if that was possible, I’d have said no. That the boys did that is really good but it’s not perfect.
“We didn’t end up fifth because of the last 10 games, we ended up there because of the lack of consistency before that.”
Failure to qualify for the Champions League is set to cost Liverpool at least £50million next season but there may be implications in the shorter term as UEFA’s second-tier competition is likely to be less attractive to leading players.
The club have already pulled out of the running for primary target Jude Bellingham after the asking price for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder became prohibitive and reports this week suggested Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount’s preferred destination is Old Trafford.
Klopp is keen to get his business done early and is hopeful finishing fifth will not put a spanner in the works of their planning.
“I don’t think so but we will see. That is obviously possible, it’s always possible things don’t go as quick as you want. It’s not only possible, it is probably likely,” he added ahead of Sunday’s final match of the season at Southampton.
“The better the players you want the lesser is the desire of the other club to let him go and that’s exactly what we are prepared for.
“But it’s a long window and a long pre-season and a long break in-between so we have time. If we get in players tomorrow or in six or seven weeks it is not a game-changer for me to be honest.
“In an ideal world they all sign tomorrow and I can tell them when to be and we can start giving them the plans for the summer break but that will not likely happen likely.”