Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to his squad’s togetherness in tough moments after Liverpool ended a testing season by claiming a place in the Champions League.
Top of the Premier League at the turn of the year, the Reds’ title defence began to unravel as the absences of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and countless other injury blows began to take their toll.
With 10 games of their campaign remaining, Klopp’s side sat in eighth place, seven points shy of Chelsea in fourth and 10 behind third-placed Leicester.
But a run of eight wins and two draws – including victory over Crystal Palace on the final day – saw them climb to third and book their place in Europe’s premier cup competition.
And Klopp was understandably delighted with how his players dealt with every challenge thrown at them to enjoy a successful end to the season.
He said: “It’s great, it’s absolutely great, it’s outstanding. From outside you cannot really understand because we are just Liverpool: we have to perform, we have to win, we have to become champion or whatever.
Great to finish the season in front of supporters.
We’ve missed you pic.twitter.com/cXhRCXGioe
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 23, 2021
“It was not possible for us this year so you have to fight through and in the harder moments you can learn the most. In the harder moments you can show the most and we really stuck together all the time.
“There was no argument or whatever about different things, we just knew some things are tough [and] we have to improve. That’s true, we have to, but football is a game based on confidence and we did not have a lot of opportunities to gain confidence.
“We were constantly sorting problems and that’s so nice to see that we could use the last five, six, seven weeks to give this season a proper turnaround.
“I’m really happy for the Champions League that they don’t have to play without us! So, we are in it, that will be great, can’t wait for that. Outstanding achievement from the boys.
Klopp was also asked about Georginio Wijnaldum, who confirmed after full-time that his five-year stay at Anfield will come to an end when his contract expires on July 1.
Unsurprisingly, the German paid a heartfelt tribute to a player who has been a virtual ever-present as the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup were secured in his tenure.
He continued: “Where can I start? I met this wonderful player for the first time – we played, obviously, against him, and the first time I met him was in my living room at home because I had to see him and talk to him.
“From the first moment it clicked between us. He is a very friendly, very smart, very open person, and that never changed, that just improved.
“Yes, it is very emotional for me because I lose a friend and I will miss him, that’s how it is. But it’s normal in football that these kinds of things happen – it’s not always nice, but normal, and I am really sure he will find a great place.
“Each club who is interested in him should call me and ask about him. Then you will take him, definitely, because I could not be more positive about what he did here. It’s incredible. He was not only always available, he played 90 per cent of the time really, really good.”
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