Liverpool’s regret: Season for the ages has sour ending

May 28, 2022, 2:37 PM | Updated: May 29, 2022, 2:40 am

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts at the end of the Champions League final soccer match bet...

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts at the end of the Champions League final soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint Denis near Paris, Saturday, May 28, 2022. Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

PARIS (AP) — Sixty-three games. Four losses. Two trophies.

And a whole lot of disappointment.

That’s the scenario facing Liverpool’s players as they return home on Sunday from their painful Champions League final loss in Paris to a trophy parade through their city.

They’ll smile on that bus. They’ll accept the cheers from their adoring fans. But deep down, there’ll be thoughts of what could have been.

“Even if nobody on this planet would understand that we have a parade, we still will do it,” Klopp said, “and I really hope that everybody who has the chance to get to Liverpool is there and celebrates together with us a fantastic season which we all had together.

“It didn’t end like we wanted. But, yeah, that’s facts.”

It was only a week ago that Liverpool stood on the cusp of immortality. A quadruple of major trophies, for possibly the greatest ever single season by a club in football history, was in tantalizing reach.

Except Manchester City pulled off a stunning late comeback — three goals in five minutes — in a final-day win in the Premier League last weekend to finish one point ahead of Liverpool. Then Klopp’s team lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday to be denied a seventh European Cup.

The history books will say Liverpool finished the 2021-22 season with the League Cup and FA Cup trophies, both secured after penalty shootouts following 0-0 draws.

Somehow, it all feels so hollow, even though it really shouldn’t.

“The dressing room is quiet, devastated,” Liverpool left back Andrew Robertson said.

The crowd problems that surrounded the final in Paris also leave a bitter taste at the end of a long season that might just have caught up on Liverpool, which had players on the field who weren’t at 100% fitness and might have been mentally fatigued, too, after getting to the last game of all four competitions they competed in.

Yet, even though it wasn’t the smoothest and sharpest performance by the Reds at the Stade de France, they still had 24 shots compared to Madrid’s four and it needed a man-of-the-match performance from Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to keep out Liverpool.

Courtois said his fingertip save onto the post from Sadio Mane’s shot in the first half was his best, though the one from Mohamed Salah’s right-foot blast in the 81st — the Belgium goalkeeper stuck out his right hand and palmed the ball just wide of the post — really took the breath away.

There was lots of talk of Madrid having that winning culture that other teams can’t match — and the Spanish team’s haul of trophies is testament to that — but the match could easily have gone the other way.

As Klopp said: “They scored a goal, we didn’t. That’s the easiest explanation in the world of football.”

“When the goalkeeper is man of the match,” he added, “then something is going wrong for the other team.”

Liverpool knows how to respond to major setbacks. After losing the 2018 Champions League final, also to Madrid, the team bounced back by winning the competition the following year.

When Liverpool missed out on the Premier League title by one point in 2019, the team won the title the following year.

No surprise, then, that Klopp was in a bullish mood.

“I have a strong feeling we’ll come again,” he said. “The boys are really competitive. It’s an outstanding group together. We will have an outstanding group next season.”

And his message to fans?

“Where is it next season?” he asked about the Champions League final. “Istanbul? Book the hotel.”


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Liverpool’s regret: Season for the ages has sour ending