LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Mohamed Salah said it’s “too soon” for optimism after Liverpool failed to reach the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp isn’t as downcast as his star forward.
The Liverpool manager acknowledged that “we didn’t deliver” but rattled off reasons for optimism at Anfield the morning after Manchester United’s victory over Chelsea doomed his team to fifth place and a spot in the second-tier Europe League next season.
Missing out on Champions League money hurts, the German said Friday.
“But besides that, we have European nights next year. Instead of Tuesday-Wednesday, it’s a Thursday, who cares,” Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League season finale at Southampton.
United’s 4-1 win over Chelsea on Thursday ended top-four hopes for Liverpool, which had played in the Champions League six consecutive years, winning the title in 2019 and reaching the final two other times including last year.
“We didn’t deliver what everybody wanted and everybody expected, rightly so, but we are still really united and that’s the good thing about it,” Klopp said. “If you can go through difficult moments like we did in the last year, I think that’s a really good basis for a better future. So I find a lot of reasons for an optimistic view.”
Liverpool’s top scorer this season turned to social media Thursday night while United fans were still celebrating their Champions League qualification at Old Trafford.
“I’m totally devastated,” the Egypt international’s post said. “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 post. We let you and ourselves down.”
The Merseyside club took last year’s Premier League title race to the final day before finishing second to Manchester City. Liverpool struggled for much of this season but the current 10-game unbeaten streak, Klopp said, shows the “trust and faith that we have … it’s a super basis.”
The manager said he had no issues with Salah’s message.
“In the world of social media, so many bad things happen constantly, I don’t think that was one of them,” he said. “In that moment right after the game, he’s right, that’s not immediately a moment to send any optimistic messages, but maybe an hour, a day later.
“I saw him now in the canteen and he was smiling. I don’t know for which reason, didn’t ask him, but he was not in a bad mood.”
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