Liverpool left disappointed but proud as the big prize fails to arrive | Andy Hunter
Liverpools record number of points and the individual awards were nice but all the thoughts were of what might have been in the Premier League climax
You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oates was a strange choice of song to play in the immediate aftermath of Liverpools title chase ending in unrewarded victory. It may prove prophetic in Madrid on 1 June but only the opening line What I want, youve got reflected the reality here. This was a show of pride laced with thoughts of what might have been, not dreams coming true.
Fittingly, Liverpool remained defiant to the end as a day of hope ended with confirmation they would be the best team not to win the Premier League. Ninety-seven points; enough to have been crowned champions of England in 116 of the previous 119 seasons. A Golden Glove award for Alisson, who set a Liverpool record of 21 clean sheets in his debut campaign. A share of the Golden Boot for 22-goal Mohamed Salah and Sadio Man. The presentations on the pitch kept the atmosphere buoyant and were reflections of Liverpools outstanding campaign. Victory over Wolves made it two consecutive seasons without a home defeat. But it was missing.
Barcelona on Tuesday changed everything, of course, and the Kop hit back with a stirring rendition of We Shall Not Be Moved the European Cup version when the Wolves support celebrated Manchester Citys win at Brighton with a chorus of Raheem Sterling, hes top of the league. The comeback of all comebacks here last Tuesday offers Jrgen Klopp and his players another opportunity to claim a magnificent prize in keeping with their quality, character and effort. The biggest jump in development I can remember, the Liverpool manager said.
Klopp was last on to the pitch for the lap of appreciation after the final whistle, doffing his baseball cap to all sides and beating the Liver Bird on his jacket. But he made no attempt to disguise the fact that disappointment accompanied pride on the final day. His quiet, flat press conference captured the occasion well. If I said all the positive things I could about this team I would be sat here until an hour before the Champions League final, he said. But this is not the moment for that. It is disappointing. It is not a wonderful moment but we have enough time to feel what a brilliant season it was.
But for Divock Origis late winners against Newcastle and Barcelona in the preceding days this could have been a deflating affair from the start. The striker ended the afternoon filming the Kop singing his name.
Pride would have remained intact, yet tinged by the absence of solid silver reward. Instead, with a Premier League and Champions League double still alive before kick-off, Wolves visit carried the air of a cup final celebration. Liverpool flags fluttered from cars on the drive up to Anfield. The Never Give Up T-shirt that Salah wore on Tuesday had become a musthave fashion item by Sunday. Red and white balloons formed an archway over the door of the Willow Bank pub.
A thunderous noise greeted Mans 21st league goal of the season but that was eclipsed by the reaction when confirmation came that Brighton had taken the lead against City. It was a strange few minutes that had the end result of Klopp shaking his head in disapproval and disrupting the Liverpool performance.