Jurgen Klopp has shared his assessment following Liverpool's failure to secure Champions League qualification, with Newcastle United and Manchester United ultimately clinching the coveted spots.
A 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday halted Liverpool's seven-match winning streak, allowing Newcastle and Man United to secure qualification with just a single point in their respective midweek fixtures.
Eddie Howe's Newcastle side played out a goalless draw against relegation-threatened Leicester City on Monday, while the Red Devils secured a resounding 4-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford.
On the final day of the Premier League season, Liverpool will travel to face already-relegated Southampton, with their fifth-place finish already guaranteed.
"We shouldn't exaggerate the situation. It's a football season, and we didn't deliver what everyone wanted or expected," Klopp stated during a press conference. "But we remain united, and that's the positive aspect. Going through difficult moments like we did last season provides a solid foundation for a better future.
"The dressing room isn't in a bad state. We have learned to handle the situation. We didn't become divided between the manager and the team at any point, which is extremely helpful. We didn't blame each other. That's all positive.
"If you don't qualify for the Champions League, finishing in fifth place is the best outcome. That's what we achieved. If you had asked me 10 games ago if that was possible, I would have said no.
"The fact that the boys achieved that is really commendable. However, it's not perfect. We didn't end up in fifth place solely because of our last 10 games; it was due to the lack of consistency before that.
"We are highly self-critical, but there's no reason for us to hang our heads and wait until the new season begins. I've seen promising signs, and that's what I'll carry forward to the next season."
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