Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp still 'proud' despite defeat after difficult week
Jurgen Klopp says he is "proud" of his Liverpool side for their efforts after a testing week despite Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
The result means Liverpool now need a win against Brighton and Hove Albion on the final day of the Premier League season to finish in the top four and guarantee a spot in next season's Champions League regardless of the result of this month's final against Real Madrid.
Olivier Giroud's first-half header was the difference at Stamford Bridge and leaves Liverpool without a victory in their last three league games.
However, Klopp remained positive after the defeat, choosing to praise his depleted team after a week that saw them secure a place in the Champions League final following the trip to Roma.
"I didn't think Chelsea looked much fresher than we did," he told a news conference. "It is an intense period and if you want to be successful the decisions are made in the last part of the season.
"Yes, of course, there was influence -- everything is influenced by the games during the week, that's normal. I am really proud of the boys to be honest; 'proud' is the word because, again, they really invested everything.
"There is one moment I am really disappointed, not happy, angry with and it was the goal. Clearly, we should not concede another goal like this. It was clear, the plan -- cut back, cross, soft cross and Giroud is there.
"It was clear we had to avoid these situations and I feels like we only had to avoid it once more in the game and then we would have the draw, which would feel completely different. With the rest, I am absolutely fine."
Chelsea's four-game winning run in the league is seeing them apply pressure of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the battle to finish in the top four.
Antonio Conte's side, fifth in the table, host relegation-threatened Huddersfield in midweek before travelling to Newcastle next Sunday.
"Chelsea have to win the games as well, right? We play the last game at home, Chelsea plays at Newcastle, so that's not a holiday trip," Klopp said.
"What I wanted this morning when I woke up, nice and easy, 3-0 win, going home, enjoying the sun and don't care for the Brighton game, and prepare already for the final. Did I think it would happen? I was not sure. That's the situation.
"How it looks in the moment, hopefully the boys all came through the game they showed again their outstanding character.
"I saw Brighton against [Manchester] United and it doesn't look like like that would be an easy game, they were really good that night. It's football, if you want guarantees then you have to do something very different.
"The boys showed me that they are really ready to fight and to fight and to fight. The situation is very intense for the boys and I am really happy and proud of them how they deal with it."
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah's wait to break the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season continues, with the Egyptian having now gone three games without finding the back of the net.
"It's a completely normal situation for an offensive player," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He, for sure, did not have his best game tonight, but these situations become very physical. That's not a problem -- he can deal with that and deals with that.
"It's intense for all of us and that's why I'm absolutely OK. We wanted another result, I think everybody saw that. Now we prepare the next game."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.