Liverpool belatedly got the job done against Wolves, but by then Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa had already lost their two-goal lead. This is what we spotted.
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Liverpool were put through the ringer on the final day of the Premier League season. While Mohamed Salah came off the bench to eventually get the job done at Wolves, it occurred after Manchester City had already completed a comeback from two goals down against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, ultimately meaning a dramatic day ended as it started.
For a long time, it looked as though a door would open for Liverpool, only for Jürgen Klopp’s side to fail to walk through it. But in the end, as has been the case all season, both of the title contenders did their jobs.
The manner of the outcome means Liverpool will undoubtedly feel deflated, as the quadruple dream finally died in late May. However, with 92 points and the chance of a treble in Paris next weekend, the players, staff and fans will eventually look back on an incredible season.
Here are the four things Liverpool.com spotted as the game unfolded.
It’s the hope that kills you
Remarkably, Liverpool were never actually ahead on a frantic final day.
Gerrard and Aston Villa held up their end of the bargain for well over two-thirds of the contest at the Etihad, and Liverpool ultimately ran out as winners by a two-goal margin, but the results never aligned.
Goals for Salah and Andy Robertson ultimately counted for nothing. Even by the time they hit the net, it seemed obvious that they would prove pointless. There is a shred of comfort in the fact that Liverpool did their job, but it was a cruel way to end the domestic campaign.
For Klopp, the message will be clear. The best tonic for this disappointment will be a win in the Champions League final, just as in 2019.
Thiago is a phenomenon
“Fight with your life, hermano.”
Those were the words of Thiago when he was substituted off for Corentin Tolisso in the Champions League final back in 2020. He has brought all of the same passion to Liverpool.
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Having played a key role in the equaliser against Wolves, he could be seen galvanising his teammates, setting the standards for those around him. A man who has won almost everything possible has not lost any of his drive.
This alone would make him a valuable asset, but he just so happens to also be one of the most technically gifted players of his generation. His assist for Sadio Mané was a thing of beauty.
A deft little flick beat the offside trap. To even see it was unbelievable — to pull it off was outrageous. Liverpool were already elite, but Thiago has nonetheless been a game-changer since finding his feet. Klopp will be desperately hoping that the injury which forced him off is not serious.
Konaté not the finished product
Klopp has spoken before about how Ibrahima Konaté still has occasional struggles with keeping his concentration for a full 90 minutes, and that was certainly exposed against Wolves. Starting ahead of Virgil van Dijk, who was only fit enough for the bench, he gifted the visitors the opening goal.
Completely misjudging José Sá’s goal kick, he got caught awkwardly underneath the ball. This allowed Raúl Jiménez to nip in behind, suddenly in glorious isolation. He made no mistake, squaring the ball for a tap-in.
While the timing could hardly have been worse for Liverpool, it is important to retain some perspective. Remarkably, Konaté is only 22, at least for another three days. He could plausibly be many years from his peak. It has been an excellent debut season, and the odd mistake has to be accepted as a fair price to pay for an elite centre-back of the future.
Unwanted transfer reminder for Liverpool
With John Henry and the rest of the FSG brass present, Pedro Neto’s timing could hardly have been better.
Linked with Liverpool in the past, his progress has been hampered by a severe injury. However, his return has been ramping up in recent weeks, and he reached another landmark at Anfield.
Having assisted against Manchester City in the 5-1 defeat, Neto opened the scoring versus Liverpool, getting on the end of the Jiménez pass. A home crowd praying for a miracle were rapidly presented with a nightmare.
Still only 22, he looks a great prospect as his recovery continues apace. He has all the hallmarks of an FSG signing — provided the injury setback he suffered after 20 minutes does not once again prove serious. Liverpool would just have preferred him to save the reminder for another day.