Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah said there was “no excuse” for his team’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League after Manchester United clinched the remaining top-four spot in the Premier League on Thursday.
Man United’s 4-1 win over Chelsea means that with one game remaining Liverpool are guaranteed to finish fifth and go into the Europa League. It is the first time that Liverpool have failed to qualify for Europe’s top club competition since Salah joined the team in 2017.
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“I’m totally devastated,” Salah tweeted. “There’s absolutely no excuse for this.
“We had everything we needed to make it to next year’s Champions League and we failed. We are Liverpool and qualifying to the competition is the bare minimum. I am sorry but it’s too soon for an uplifting or optimistic post. We let you and ourselves down.”
Liverpool had won seven straight games to put themselves back in contention for a top-four spot but a 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa on Saturday effectively ended their hopes before Newcastle and Man United confirmed their fate in the subsequent days.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to three Champions League finals, winning one, in the last five seasons but admitted Saturday that “we were too long not good enough ourselves.”
He added that the team now needs to embrace competing in the Europa League.
“We will make it [the Europa League] our competition,” Klopp told BBC Sport. “I am not that spoilt. That we are already qualified for the Europa League is incredible with all these teams around us. That’s really difficult and we did it, that is good.
“For so long we couldn’t even hear the sound of the Champions League, that’s how far away we were. The Europa League is absolutely fine. Let’s see what we can do.”
It is set to be a big summer for Liverpool, with Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already confirmed to be leaving Anfield when their contracts expire at the end of the season.