Jurgen Klopp has promised Liverpool will be challenging for the Premier League title next season after a disappointing campaign ended with a 4-4 draw away to already-relegated Southampton on Sunday.
A point on the south coast left Liverpool in fifth place, with Klopp’s men having arrived at St Mary’s knowing they had missed out on a top-four finish for the first time since the 2015/16 season.
Liverpool, however, at least looked as if they would finish a trophy-less term with a flourish thanks to early goals from Diogo Jota and outgoing fans’ favourite Roberto Firmino.
Yet they were left having to scramble for a point from 4-2 behind following Kamaldeen Sulemana’s double for Southampton, whose other goals came from James Ward-Prowse and Adam Armstrong.
Liverpool eventually extended their unbeaten run to 11 games thanks to a goal from substitute Cody Gakpo and a second from Jota.
But Reds boss Klopp was happy to see the back of a frustrating 2022/23.
“There were moments during the season when you thought ‘the season will be four years long’,” he said. “Thank God for the last 11 games, that helped massively, gave us a real boost, gave us a perspective, gave us a basis for what we have to do.”
The German manager added: “That it didn’t turn into the best ever season, we see that, we know that, we are very disappointed about the fact that we didn’t make it to the top four.
“But there are moments when you have to admit there were four teams that were better than us — that’s the truth.
“We played a bad season, we come fifth, that is a message as well.
“Imagine we were our normal self, which we absolutely will be again next season and will be a contender again. That’s how is it. The last 11 games helped us to realise that again.”
Reflecting on Sunday’s match, Klopp said his side had made life hard for themselves in a “silly” period of a see-saw contest.
“We are 2-0 up and you know these Southampton players want to pay back to these people (home fans) and we let them, just opened the door for a really talented offensive team, with the speed they have,” he said.
“I can make a list of things we weren’t and that led to the counter attacks they had.
“Then it’s 2-2 and 4-2 and then we started doing the right things again. I think we could have scored a fifth and a sixth.
“Top start, outstanding finish, in between just silly.”