Juergen Klopp eyes Champions League glory after title pain
Juergen Klopp has challenged Liverpool to use the pain of their failed English Premier League title bid as fuel to finish a remarkable season with a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool fell one point short of winning their first league title since 1990 as Manchester City pipped Klopp's side on the final day of the season.
It was cruel on Liverpool, who secured 30 wins and 97 points, setting a standard that would have secured the title in any year but the last two, with Pep Guardiola's sensational City amassing 100 points 12 months ago and 98 this term.
Yet Klopp insists his players won't dwell on their agonising near-miss for long because they have a chance for redemption in the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 1.
"We have qualified for the Champions League final. That is special. This team is one of the best that ever played for Liverpool, 100 per cent," Klopp said.
"If I start telling you all the positive things about this team, we would be here until an hour before the Champions League final. Liverpool are in the best moment for a long time and it will not end because another team have one more point.
"If we are ready to make the next step, we will. That is the plan from tomorrow."
While Klopp is confident Liverpool can bring home the club's sixth European Cup and first since 2005, even if they do triumph in Madrid, the German doesn't believe his team are at the peak of their powers yet.
"I am not worried that this is as good as it can be. This team is not the finished article," he said.
"We had an unbelievable season. I can read all the numbers. It would be nice to get an award for the biggest development I can remember.
"We made a big step, but really think there is more to come. We will go again."
Reeling in City won't be a piece of cake for Klopp and the 51-year-old conceded Pep Guardiola's group present a unique challenge.
"As long as Manchester City are around with their financial power, no team will pass them easily," Klopp said.
"We need to be very close to perfection to win the EPL as long as this is the case."
REDS WILL RETURN STRONGER
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson added that the Reds will learn from their mistakes and hope to come back stronger next season.
"We've not done much wrong, but we'll learn from it," Robertson told Liverpool's website.
"The good thing is that City know we're here now and we're not going anywhere. This squad will stay together and we need to put everything into next season.
"Nobody has lost this Premier League, it's been won - and it's been won by an unbelievable team that have set the standard. We kept up with them, but we just fell short."
Robertson also hopes to ease the disappointment of losing out on the title by winning the Champions League in the club's second attempt in as many seasons.
"We're in the final now and we need to take that one step further that we didn't take last season," Robertson said, referring to Liverpool's defeat by Real Madrid in last season's Champions League final.
"If we can do it, then it'll be a hell of a season. We know how hard that game against Tottenham is going to be."
- AFP, REUTERS