Klopp insists league heartbreak will motivate Liverpool for European final

Jürgen Klopp said the disappointment of missing out on the Premier League title would increase Liverpool’s desire to win the Champions League final, although Thiago Alcântara could be absent against Real Madrid after sustaining a suspected hamstring injury.

Liverpool were given hope of claiming a 20th league championship when Aston Villa took a 2-0 lead at Manchester City but the champions’ stirring comeback meant victory over Wolves, and a 92-point season, went unrewarded.  

Klopp insisted his treble chasers would turn their Premier League deflation into a motivation when meeting the Spanish champions in Paris on Saturday. The Liverpool manager said: “I can imagine it was much worse for the people at home watching on TV all over the world who were Liverpool fans.

When Aston Villa were 2-0 up they were thinking: ‘Wow, it could really be.’ I was not really aware of it, but now I have heard the whole story after the game.

“With all the things that happened I’d have preferred it if they had been 5-0 up after 10 minutes, to be honest. Of course it makes it more difficult. The season was so close, so tight, moments, decisions, only one point apart. What I learned about life is that if you stay on track and keep going, you get the reward. Not today the maximum reward, but we will get it. But it’s up to us to keep going.”

Klopp added: “This season is absolutely incredible and it doesn’t end today. It ends next week. And we will try absolutely everything. It’s never happened before that you are completely without knocks going into a final. We had our knocks, obviously. We now have five days to prepare the final and we face an incredibly experienced team, but that’s really OK. Losing the league today increases the desire to put it right next week.”  

Thiago headed straight down the tunnel in first-half stoppage time and hobbled through the post-match lap of honour. Klopp did not elaborate on the extent of the influential midfielder’s injury but confirmed Divock Origi, who was given a rousing send-off before his summer departure, would miss the final with a muscle problem.

“Not good but I cannot say more,” said Klopp on Thiago. “We want to wait until we know more about it and then you will get the information as well.”

He congratulated City, saying: “I’m proud but I’m disappointed as well. There are maybe worse scenarios: we could have been a point up and didn’t make it. That might feel even worse. It’s not cool, but it’s not completely unexpected. Congratulations to Man City, Pep Guardiola, all staff and all players of the club for being champions. We were close but in the end not close enough.”