Jurgen Klopp, after Liverpool lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid, said: "The boys are really competitive and are an outstanding group - they will be that again next season. And we go again. Where's it next season? Istanbul? Book the hotel!"
Sunday 29 May 2022 14:36, UK
A defiant Jurgen Klopp has vowed Liverpool will return stronger next season and has told fans to book the hotels for next year's Champions League final in Istanbul.
Liverpool were denied a seventh European crown as Real Madrid became kings of the continent once again thanks to Vinicius Junior's strike in a Champions League showpiece marred by chaos outside the Stade de France.
Kick-off had to be delayed by 37 minutes due to substantial security issues outside the stadium in Paris, where Liverpool were eventually edged out 1-0.
Klopp's Reds were unable to find a response to the second-half strike as Carlo Ancelotti, managing in a record fifth Champions League final just a year after leaving Everton, oversaw the Spanish giants' 14th European Cup triumph.
It was a heartbreaking end to a memorable season for Liverpool, who won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup before being pipped to the Premier League title by a point by Manchester City and losing in the French capital.
Klopp, however, has full confidence in his team to come again next season.
"It's not bad to get to the final - it's kind of a success although not the success you want to have," he told BT Sport.
"I have a strong feeling we will come again. The boys are really competitive and are an outstanding group - they will be that again next season. And we go again. Where's it next season? Istanbul? Book the hotel!"
"The mood in the dressing room makes it feel like not a great season in this moment - we'll need a few minutes or hours for that," he added.
"We played a good, not a perfect game. A perfect game wouldn't have been possible with how the opponent set up with the deep formation, counter-attacks and long balls - that was tricky. Like the disallowed goal in the first half was a long ball that we couldn't defend in the first place. We had a lot of shots but not the clearest - only three forced (Thibaut) Courtois into top saves.
"We conceded a goal from a throw-in. (Federico) Valverde wanted to shoot, Vinicius was there and that's it.
"The boys tried everything, especially at 1-0 down then we played like we wanted to play before. We had our midfielders too deep. It's a threat they are with counter-attacks. We wanted to be more brave in the second half. That's what we said at half-time. We played around them. We should have played more in the formation than around them."
Klopp's team will return home on Sunday and head out on a parade around the city.
The club and council decided to go ahead with the parade after the Reds secured the Carabao and FA Cups this season.
"And tomorrow, we will celebrate the season," Klopp said.
"It's good that we don't have to do that now immediately. But after a night's sleep and maybe another talk or speech from me, the boys will realise how special it was what they did. Even if nobody on this planet would understand that we have a parade tomorrow, we still will do it and I really hope that everybody who has the chance to get to Liverpool is there tomorrow 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.
"But, how I said, the club is in a good moment, we will go again."
Sky Sports' Nick Wright at the Stade de France:
Jurgen Klopp spoke candidly in his post-match press conference, revealing his attempts to lift the spirits of his players had failed - "the boys need a little bit longer for that," he said - and admitting Liverpool's performance had fallen short of their usual standards.
But his confidence that they will be back stronger is well-founded.
Liverpool's starting line-up at the Stade de France featured six players either in or approaching their 30s, but the process of renewal is well under way. It can be seen in the signings of Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate and Diogo Jota and there will be more.
Klopp's conviction about their future was apparent in his decision to sign a two-year contract extension last month and while the season has ended in disappointment, there is no sense of the end of a cycle, as there was for Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham when they were beaten by Klopp's side in Madrid in 2019.
That is not to say it will be easy to recover from the heartache of the last week, during which Premier League and Champions League glory have slipped away.
"The two competitions we didn't win, we didn't win for the smallest possible margin - one point, one-nil," added Klopp. "City during the season were one point better and tonight Madrid were one goal better."
The fine margins make the feeling of deflation more acute but Liverpool have shown formidable powers of recovery before, responding to their last Champions League final defeat to Madrid by winning it the following year, then winning the Premier League title with 99 points after missing out with 97 a year after that.
Why shouldn't they do it again? The 63rd game of a marathon season proved a step too far for this group in the end but their character cannot be questioned and nor can the reasons for Klopp's confidence about what's to come. Liverpool will be back.
Andy Robertson gave an insight into the Liverpool dressing room following their defeat in Paris, and says Real Madrid's experience in Champions League finals shone through in the end.
He told BT Sport: "Obviously it [the dressing room] is quiet, devastated - that's what happens when you come to finals and don't win.
"We had chances, we came up against an unbelievable goalie tonight, he pulled off some unbelievable saves.
"But if we're being honest as well, I think we could have played a bit better, especially second half. I thought first half we played well, we were in control, we were the ones kind of pushing. Second half, we didn't start great, they started getting a hold of the game a bit more.
"When you come up against an experienced team, they know how to win finals. Once they got their noses in front, they showed that."
Real Madrid boss Ancelotti described himself as "the record man" and hailed his side's victory as he became the first manager to win the Champions League for a fourth time.
"I can't believe it. We've had a fantastic season," he said.
"We suffered a lot in the first half but in the end we deserved to win this competition.
"I am the record man. I had the luck to come here last year and found as usual a fantastic club with a really good squad with a lot of quality and mental character.
"The season was top."