Kevin De Bruyne felt "blessed" to have bounced back from an injury-plagued season to score at Wembley and help Manchester City win the FA Cup, admitting his most recent absence left him mentally exhausted.

The Belgium international suffered successive knee ligament problems throughout a season in which City became the first English men's team to complete a domestic treble, winning the EFL Cup, the Premier League and the FA Cup.

It was during City's 1-0 victory over Tottenham on April 20 that he broke down again, but after netting the third of City's six goals against Watford in the FA Cup final he reflected with satisfaction on having bounced back to fitness.

"It feels a bit like an honour," De Bruyne told BBC Sport. "After the Tottenham injury, mentally I was done.

"Five injuries in a year is a lot. But after a couple of days I was ready to be back with the team and help them win the title and in the final game and this game.

"I feel somewhat blessed to end the season in this way and show everyone that I am still the same and hopefully next season will be better."

Bernardo Silva echoed De Bruyne's optimism regarding next season, expressing his belief that Pep Guardiola's record-breaking side can still improve.

Silva had a hand in two of City's goals against Watford as he put in a performance that capped off a fine season on a personal level.

Asked what the treble means to his team-mates, he said: "It's fantastic. It means you are the best in your country by far because you won all of the competitions, so yes, we're very happy with this season. 

"It doesn't matter if we win 1-0 or 5-0, there's always space for improvement.

"Next season we'll try to get better, to win even more titles, to control more the games, have more possession, create more chances, score more goals.

"We'll work on that."

Raheem Sterling revealed that criticism from former Liverpool players contributed to a lack of confidence in the aftermath of his £49million transfer to Manchester City.

The City winger, who was named PFA Young Player of the Year this season, shed light on moments when he doubted himself during his teenage years and credited Pep Guardiola with creating the "perfect" environment for him to fulfil his potential in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC.

Sterling was just 17 when he made his Premier League debut for Liverpool in a 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic in March 2012, but he said his rise to the very top of English football was not always plain sailing.

"When I was 14, 15, 16, 17, I was so confident. Then there was a gap between the ages of 17 and 20," said Sterling.

"I was so used to people talking positively about me in terms of football.

"Everything was so nice and there was a switch when I left and everyone was saying, 'He's no good'. I hadn't even played for Manchester City but people were saying I was not good enough; he will never be what he thinks he will.

"It wasn't just fans but professional players you looked up to, that you watched on TV when you were a kid. They were all Liverpool supporters and ex-Liverpool players and I get it now, but at the time it was a bit hard for me to take. It was a learning curve.

"You know what you are like, you know right from wrong and you know what you need to improve on. Everyone will have an opinion but I know where I want to go and what I need to do, so it is down to you to carry that out and not get caught up in hearing how good you are or how bad you are."

Sterling's 17 Premier League goals - one short of his tally in the previous season - were instrumental in City's run to the title and he was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association, as well as being named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

He has become more potent since he left Liverpool, where his highest return in a single season was nine league goals in 2013-14.

The 24-year-old said the faith shown in him by Guardiola had a transformational effect on his career.

"Pep has been massive for me," said Sterling. "I have seen how he has set up teams in the past and as a young player coming through I thought this was the perfect place for me to come.

"The first season was a lot of pressure but it was not something I was going to hide away from. It was not something I was ever going to give up on even if it was a rough patch for me. I would go away at the end of the season, look where I went wrong and try to fix it.

"The manager helped me massively in terms of confidence and putting trust in me and being there for me. Since he has come in he has played me in 90 per cent of games and in massive games.

"The environment the manager has created is perfect. You have to earn that trust and earn the respect to be in the starting XI. There are no egos here. It is all about hard work and the ability does the talking."

Kevin De Bruyne said he has no sympathy for Liverpool following Manchester City's thrilling Premier League triumph.

City finished just a point ahead of rivals Liverpool as Pep Guardiola's side claimed back-to-back Premier League titles.

Liverpool collected 97 points from 38 games but it was still not enough to dethrone City as star midfielder De Bruyne revelled in the achievement.

"No," De Bruyne told The Guardian when asked if he had sympathy for Liverpool. "It's a remarkable effort but it means that we were just better than them in the end. I don't feel sorry for them because I don't think they'd feel sorry for us.

"I don't think anybody felt sorry about the way we went out of the Champions League [against Tottenham in the quarter-finals]."

De Bruyne added: "I know how they feel because you're going to feel disappointed. We'd feel the same if it happened to us. But we're still competitors. We want to win as much as they do but I can understand the feelings they have."

City – who won the EFL Cup earlier in the season – have the chance to secure the domestic treble when they face Watford in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.

De Bruyne has endured an injury-ravaged campaign due to two separate knee issues and the Belgium international has never won the FA Cup.

"It would make up for it in a way," he says. "But obviously it's not been the most fun season. In another way I can't complain because I've been playing football for 10 or 11 years and not had many injuries in that regard. I've played almost 500 games in my career, so it's a lot."

"The first two were accidents," the 27-year-old continued. "It doesn't matter about a physio or whatever; they just happened. The first I twisted my ankle and it just went. The second the guy [Timothy Fosu-Mensah] just fell on my knee. If he falls 10cm next to me then nothing happens.

"I knew my body was not ready to cope with the physicality of all those games in a row. I've no doubt in my mind that after a good summer break and preparation everything will be fine. I'm fine. For me this season, mentally, has been over since the Tottenham game. It's good to be back with the team for the prizes, the Brighton and Hove Albion game and now the final."

Pep Guardiola is convinced of Manchester City's innocence after UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) referred the Premier League champions to its adjudicatory chamber following an investigation into alleged Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches.

German publication Der Spiegel alleged that City had broken FFP rules, leading to a CFCB investigation, despite City denying the accusations.

Former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, serving as chief investigator, has now referred the case to the CFCB's adjudicatory chamber for a final decision, with City potentially facing a season-long Champions League ban.

City released a statement on Thursday again refuting the allegations, as well as criticising the investigation as "hostile", claiming that "the decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process."

Guardiola insisted he is fully trusting of City's hierarchy, and issued a reminder that the club are innocent until they are proven guilty.

"I said many times I trust the club, the people," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Watford.

"I know we won the Premier League and just talk about that, I'm sorry, if we did something wrong we'll be banned, but right now I know people are waiting for us to be guilty but we are innocent until proven guilty.

"That's all around the world, we accept it, I spoke with the chairman, the CEO. I know what they did and I trust them – that's all.

"I'm not going to answer any more questions, my opinion is clear, everything is what would happen, we are innocent today and we'll see in the future.

"We are innocent, UEFA are now working with the lawyers. I'm not a lawyer, I don't know what's [happening] behind the scenes. I don't know what will happen but we are innocent today."

UEFA's investigation is not the only controversy City have been involved in, with the club having had to deny suggestions a chant sung by members of their squad following their Premier League triumph ridiculed Liverpool fan Sean Cox and the Hillsborough tragedy.

City released a statement labelling the allegations as "baseless", and Guardiola was saddened by the suggestion his players, who will face no action over the chant, were capable of such insensitivity.

"Just for one second imagine we could offend about these tragedies, it's incredible," he said when asked about the video.

"We were happy for ourselves. If someone was offended for another issue I apologise, but it wasn't our intention. We were happy for ourselves, to win the Premier League is difficult against an incredible contender."

Dejan Lovren believes Liverpool can "do something great" next season provided there are no major alterations to a squad preparing for its second successive Champions League final.

Liverpool have the chance to win their first trophy under Jurgen Klopp when they meet Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on June 1.

Making amends for last year's defeat to Real Madrid would help to ease the agony of finishing a point shy of Manchester City in a remarkable Premier League title race.

The arrivals of key men Alisson and Fabinho along with Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri enabled the Reds to compete on two fronts this term but defender Lovren thinks the priority for the upcoming close-season is to protect the existing squad.

"When you look back on the last three years, it was every season improvement," the Croatia international told Liverpool's official website.

"When Klopp came, every year we did better and better. Last season we did quite well, we had quite a lot of injuries and reached the final of the Champions League. 

"This year, with the new players, we reached second place with 97 points, it's incredible, and again the final of the Champions League, so definitely we are again one of the contenders for next year to do something great.

"With this team, we can only improve. 

"We are still young so we learn every day something new and this is what matters: to keep this team all together in one place and of course, if there are new improvements to come, I mean new players, they are always welcomed.

"But when you look at the quality, it's really already quite high."

Liverpool concluded their domestic campaign with a 2-0 win over Wolves - their 30th Premier League victory - but City's come-from-behind triumph at Brighton and Hove Albion on the final day extended the Merseyside club's 29-year wait for a top-flight title.

Though "disappointed" by ultimately being resigned to runners-up status, Lovren expects to find comfort in the Champions League.

"We gave everything this season, it was a brilliant season - especially [at] Anfield and I think the fans really enjoyed it, especially the game against [Barcelona]," he said.

"So, at the end we have another final and I'm sure we will come back with big smiles."

Raheem Sterling warned Manchester City's Premier League rivals the defending champions are eyeing a third consecutive title in 2019-20.

City claimed back-to-back Premier League trophies after edging Liverpool in a dramatic title race, with only one point separating the two teams following 38 rounds.

Pep Guardiola's City have the chance to clinch the domestic treble when they face Watford in the FA Cup final but star Sterling and his team-mates are already thinking about a Premier League three-peat.

"I feel we're always improving, the mentality is always improving and next season will be another massive test for us again," Sterling told the Mirror.

"We've done it back-to-back. What's going to be the motivation now? The motivation has got to be to try and do it again. It's as simple as that. We want to be one of the best clubs in England and in the world of football.

"This is the level that we have to reach every year. It's not just one year and then three years out. Every year you have to be competing.

"It was lovely to retain the title, of course. We knew how long it's been since a team has retained it and it just shows the mentality in the group."

City have already been linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri, Antoine Griezmann and Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt.

"He's ready to go," Sterling said of manager Guardiola. "That's just him. He loves football more than anyone I know! I don't know what will happen in the summer, you can have additions to the squad, you never know what will happen and as a group we're always improving.

"When you have teams who are playing at a high level, then you have to do the exact same. I think that's what next season will be like because I imagine every team, all of the top six teams, will be pushing hard."

Liverpool collected 97 points from 38 games but still missed out in their bid for a first league title since 1990 and former Reds forward Sterling added: "Every time we play Liverpool now, that's when the stadium is at its loudest, the fans are roaring.

"The game against Liverpool at home, I don't want to sound arrogant, but we did say as a group that if we win that game then we can still have a chance of winning this title race. It was a must-win game for us.

"We knew how high the stakes were and you realise this is getting serious now, it's crunch time now and I'm just grateful that we were able to get over the line."

Raheem Sterling explained why he moved from Liverpool to Man City after he picked up the Football Writers' Association Football of the Year award.

Premier League clubs can begin reinforcing their squads for next season in earnest after the transfer window opened on Thursday and there are plenty of shrewd signings to be made.

Manchester United look set for a particularly busy close-season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinting on more than one occasion that several players could depart Old Trafford, while Manchester City and Liverpool will be eager to keep pushing themselves.

Tottenham have reached the Champions League final this term despite not adding to their first-team squad since January 2018, so presumably Mauricio Pochettino will be liaising with Daniel Levy about what business can be done this time around.

Then there will be those eager to bridge the gap to the top four, others wanting to move further away from the relegation zone and the promoted clubs desperate to stay up.

Money is not a problem for most Premier League clubs, though it is always more satisfying when you strike a bargain…

 

Pablo Sarabia (Sevilla) - £19m release clause

One of the standout players in LaLiga this term, Sarabia would represent remarkable value. With 25 goal involvements, the Spain Under-21 international is the only player in the division other than Lionel Messi to reach double figures for goals (12) and assists (13) this term. Even when not performing particularly well, the winger has the ability to produce out of nothing and has been involved in a goal every 109.12 minutes. Sevilla are desperately trying to sign him to a new contract, but in the meantime his release clause stands at just under £19m.

 

Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen) - £21m release clause

Long tipped as one of Germany's next great hopes, Brandt is finally expected to depart Leverkusen for bigger things at the end of the season. A winger who can also feature centrally, Brandt has been involved in 17 Bundesliga goals (six scored, 11 assists) this season and is a real creative hub, laying on 85 chances for team-mates. He is also a fine dribbler, attempting 100 and completing exactly half of them. According to reports, a clause in his contract means he will be available for just £21m, making the apparent interest of Liverpool and Spurs understandable.

 

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) – Free

With his contract at Old Trafford set to expire, tireless midfielder Ander Herrera – who would otherwise likely command a substantial fee – is available on a free transfer. The Spaniard is a well-rounded player, completing 87.76 per cent of his passes and 66.67 per cent of his attempted dribbles. Despite only playing 22 Premier League games for United this term, he has still managed 54 tackles and 37 interceptions, meaning he could be a useful option in an all-action midfield role. However, Paris Saint-Germain are said to be circling, so any potential suitors will have to act quickly.

 

Pablo Fornals (Villarreal) – £23m release clause

Villarreal have done just about enough to retain their top-flight status after a dire season, but they will likely be forced into player sales and Fornals is arguably their prized asset. With just five goal involvements in 35 games, the 23-year-old winger has been a little disappointing, but he has laid on 45 chances to team-mates, completed 53.42 per cent of his 73 attempted dribbles and made 49 tackles. Fornals might suggest he has been affected by the turbulence surrounding his team's campaign, as the Malaga youth product led the assist charts with Messi and Luis Suarez (12) in 2017-18 when things were going better for the club. With a £23m buyout clause said to be in his contract, many clubs could do a lot worse than Villarreal's star man.

 

Juan Mata (Manchester United) – Free

Mata's United career has been somewhat unfulfilling. After joining from Chelsea in 2014, the club arguably should have built their team around him, as his best period at Stamford Bridge showed he could be world class. But he has rarely been played in his favoured attacking midfield role, often shunted out to the wing. As such, that has seen him score just three and set up another two in 22 Premier League games this term, but the Real Madrid product has crafted 30 chances and found a team-mate with 86 per cent of his 700 passes. In the right team, the 31-year-old could thrive again.

 

Kostas Manolas (Roma) - £31m release clause

There aren't many world class centre-backs available for less than £50m these days, but Manolas is one of them. The Greece international has developed into a fine player who is capable from a physical and technical point of view. Manolas has completed 87.36 per cent of his 1,038 passes this season, highlighting his proficiency on the ball, while the 27-year-old succeeded with 75 per cent of his tackles. He came out on top in 67 of his 105 aerial duels and made 116 clearances. A £31m release clause should make him a very attractive target for those keen to bolster their defensive options.

Manchester City will not face any action from the Football Association (FA) in relation to a video of a song sung on their team flight back from Brighton on Sunday.

City secured back-to-back Premier League titles with a 4-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, pipping Liverpool to top spot by a point.

A video circulated on social media on Tuesday appeared to show City employees on the plane after the match singing an alternative and anti-Liverpool version of the Reds faithful's 'Allez, Allez, Allez' chant.

Omnisport understands City's staff and players – some of whom were visible in the clip – will not be reprimanded by the FA as none of its rules and regulations have been breached.

The words of the song refer to Liverpool fans getting "battered in the streets". Although their trip to Kiev for last season's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid is also referenced, it had been suggested that element was a distasteful reference to Sean Cox – the Liverpool supporter who suffered life-changing injuries after being attacked by an Italian man before the semi-final first leg with Roma at Anfield.

Another line, which calls Reds' fans "victims of it all" had been interpreted in some quarters as a mocking nod towards the Hillsborough disaster.

City issued a statement to dismiss such claims as baseless, insisting the chant only relates to Liverpool's 3-1 loss to Madrid.

"The song in question, which has been a regular chant during the 2018-19 season, refers to the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kiev," a City spokesperson said.

"Any suggestion that the lyrics relate to Sean Cox or the Hillsborough tragedy is entirely without foundation."

Former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio wants Jurgen Klopp to take over at the club if Massimiliano Allegri leaves, although he accepts such a move is unlikely.

Allegri's future has been in doubt ever since Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Ajax.

Juve had been considered among the favourites for the competition following the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of the season, with many suggesting he was the missing piece of the puzzle after the Serie A champions reached the final in 2017 and were narrowly knocked out by eventual winners Real Madrid last term.

Allegri is reportedly due to hold talks with club president Andrea Agnelli on Wednesday, with the meeting likely to determine whether or not the coach leaves a year before his contract expires.

If the two parties do opt to sever ties, Marchisio – who left for Zenit last year after spending 13 years a Juve player – is dreaming of seeing Liverpool manager Klopp in Turin.

When asked which coach he would like to see signed if Allegri does leave, Marchisio told Tuttosport: "One that I believe cannot be had: Jurgen Klopp.

"I like his game and I like his way of playing football until the death. He would do very well in Italian football.

"But, if Allegri remains, I wouldn't see anything wrong with that, because he's a coach who always wins."

Manchester City have denied suggestions a chant allegedly sung by some of their players and staff after securing the Premier League title mocks Sean Cox or the Hillsborough disaster.

A video began to circulate on social media on Tuesday appearing to show City employees singing an alternate version of Liverpool's "Allez, Allez, Allez" chant while on a plane after beating Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 on Sunday to clinch the trophy.

Lyrics of the song reference Reds supporters "crying in the stands" and getting "battered on the streets", while "victims of it all" is also included.

Some suggested the song mocked the 96 deaths in the Hillsborough disaster and Cox, a Liverpool fan who was attacked by Roma supporters at Anfield before the Champions League semi-final last season and suffered life-changing injuries.

City are adamant such claims are baseless, however, and that the song simply refers to last season's Champions League final, when Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.

A City spokesperson said: "The song in question, which has been a regular chant during the 2018-19 season, refers to the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kiev.

"Any suggestion that the lyrics relate to Sean Cox or the Hillsborough tragedy is entirely without foundation."

 

Daniele De Rossi will not join former team-mate Francesco Totti among the greatest one-club men in football history after his Roma departure was confirmed.

De Rossi has never played for a club other than the Giallorossi but the 35-year-old has indicated he will seek to play on elsewhere before aiming to become a coach.

Defensive midfielder De Rossi was part of the Italy squad that triumphed at the 2006 World Cup and he is expected to leave Serie A for the end of his playing career.

It had been widely anticipated De Rossi would see out his career with Roma, but who are some of the finest players to have only played for one club?


FRANCESCO TOTTI (ROMA)

De Rossi and Totti shared great years together at Roma, with the forward passing on the armband to his colleague upon his retirement. Totti, now a director at Roma who is also acting as an ambassador for Euro 2020, won a single Serie A title with the club in 2000-2001 and was a runner-up on a further nine occasions. A gifted playmaker as well as a fine goalscorer, Totti also won two Coppas Italia at the club but would surely have had more medals to show for his brilliant career had he left Roma at any point - he claimed to have turned down Real Madrid in 2004. Totti and De Rossi will both go down in history among Roma's greats.


RYAN GIGGS, PAUL SCHOLES (MANCHESTER UNITED)

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was an ultimate one-club man, staying at Manchester United for the entirety of his glittering career. Giggs managed to slowly transform himself from a rapid, tricky winger into a cultured central midfielder in the latter years of his playing days, helping to extend his time on the pitch beyond 40. Giggs won an extraordinary haul of medals at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a pair of Champions League crowns. Giggs played in 632 Premier League games, scoring 109 goals, and served as assistant under Louis van Gaal following retirement after an interim spell in charge in the wake of David Moyes' exit.

Another Class of 92 graduate, Paul Scholes was a team-mate of Giggs for much of his career, although he played international football for England instead of Wales. A classy passer with an eye for spectacular strikes from distance, Scholes was occasionally under-appreciated but not by his fellow professionals. Zinedine Zidane described Scholes as "complete" and "undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation". Like Giggs, he stepped into management but only lasted a month in charge at Oldham Athletic before leaving the League Two club, who he supported as a boy.

Scholes - who came out of retirement to play again for United - and Giggs are involved at Salford City after a Class of 92 takeover of the club in 2014, with Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Phil Neville also co-owners. Following their latest promotion, Salford became a Football League club for the first time this month and they will play in League Two next season.


PAOLO MALDINI, FRANCO BARESI (AC MILAN)

Paolo Maldini was, like Giggs for United, still going strong for AC Milan beyond his 40th birthday. Seven league titles and an incredible five European Cup/Champions League wins headline a litany of honours that Maldini helped marshal at San Siro, playing across their near impenetrable back four for almost 25 years. Maldini, son of another Milan legend, Cesare, is one of a select group of players who made over 1,000 appearances in all competitions during their career. 

He followed in the footsteps of another legendary Italy defender who only played for Milan - Franco Baresi - who captained the Rossoneri for most of his long career at San Siro. Baresi won six Serie A titles and collected three European crowns, as well as helping Italy win the World Cup in 1982. Baresi's brilliance was also recognised when he was a runner-up in the Ballon d'Or in 1989 and was included in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team a year later.

 


JAMIE CARRAGHER (LIVERPOOL)

Jamie Carragher was one of the great Premier League centre-backs, making 508 appearances in the competition for Liverpool. Now a pundit for Sky Sports in the UK, Carragher never won a league title with Liverpool but helped his side to a pair of FA Cups, as well as playing the full match as the Reds produced one of football's greatest ever comebacks to fight from 3-0 down at half-time in the 2005 final of the Champions League to beat Milan on penalties in Istanbul. The England international retired in 2013.

Damir Skomina has been appointed as the referee for the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool, UEFA has confirmed.

Slovenian official Skomina has been an international referee since 2002 but will referee the Champions League final for the first time in Madrid on June 1.

It means he will complete the full set of UEFA club competitions having refereed the Europa League final in 2017 and 2012's UEFA Super Cup.

Compatriots Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan will act as Skomina's assistants with Spain's Antonio Mateu Lahoz the fourth official, while the VAR lead will be Danny Makkelie.

Skomina has taken charge of four Champions League matches this season including the group-stage decider between Liverpool and Napoli last December.

He was also the official for Manchester United's remarkable last-16 comeback away to Paris Saint-Germain, when Marcus Rashford converted a controversial late penalty awarded by VAR after a handball.

Earlier this week, UEFA announced Gianluca Rocchi of Italy will take charge of the Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal in Baku on May 29.

Rocchi has previously officiated at the UEFA Super Cup but this will be the first time he has been given the whistle for a Europa League final.

James Milner feels Liverpool's record-breaking Premier League season means they deserve to end the campaign with silverware.

Although Jurgen Klopp's side piled up 97 Premier League points, more than any runner-up in the division's history, they were pipped to the post by Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's men won their last 14 league games of the season to become the first team to retain the Premier League title since Manchester United a decade ago.

Liverpool can still end a season of great progress on a huge high as they face Tottenham in an all-English Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

And Milner, who won two Premier League titles at City before moving to Anfield in 2015, believes it would be a fitting end to the campaign were the Reds to claim a sixth European crown.

"When you think of 30 wins out of 38, at the start of the season you'd like to think that's good enough," Milner told Liverpool's club website. "But obviously that shows how good Man City are as well. It's disappointing. We have to be proud of what we've achieved.

"Unfortunately it's just short, but obviously what we did earlier in the week gives us a chance to go and redeem ourselves and get a piece of silverware because I think everyone deserves a bit of silverware. I think the team especially, these boys, how they grind out results. 

"What we've been through in the last two weeks from Barcelona away [in the Champions League semi-finals], putting on a pretty good performance and losing like we did, to go to Newcastle with a quick turnaround and grind out a result and then obviously do what we did in midweek [the Barca comeback] and then bounce back again today [Sunday], knowing it was out of our hands [but] to get that result - I haven't got enough good words to say about the character within the squad, the ability and the mentality. 

"The fans have been unbelievable all year, they've lifted us when we've needed them, they've stuck with us when it's been tough in games and like I say, the boys deserve a bit of silverware, but the fans do too."

Klopp has only won one of the seven finals he has contested as a manager, with the Reds hoping to go one step better after last year's Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

"We have to do a couple of things in preparation for the Champions League [final], media stuff," Klopp told Liverpool's website.

"We have to do that, then the boys will have a couple of days off and then we have two proper weeks as a pre-season for the Champions League final.

"We will do that, we will play that, [hopefully] win it, come home and then the people [would] get what they deserve."

Andy Robertson warned Manchester City that Liverpool are "here to stay" after the Reds narrowly missed out on Premier League success in 2018-19.

Liverpool only lost once this season as they collected 97 points, however, Jurgen Klopp's men still finished one point behind City as their bid for a first league title since 1990 fell agonisingly short.

Despite a heartbreaking end to the campaign, Liverpool left-back Robertson insisted the club – who were 25 points clear of third-placed Chelsea – will be fighting for silverware again next term.

"Man City know, hopefully, we are here to stay; we know they are definitely here to stay – they are incredible," said Robertson, whose Liverpool will face Tottenham in the Champions League final on June 1.

"Then all the teams have to catch us as there was quite a gap between second and third. They all need to come up to us and, if they do, it will be an incredible title race next season."

"Fingers crossed we don't lose anyone," Robertson added. "We are a tight group and we don't want to lose anyone. We will go into next season as strong as ever.

"We are a tight-knit group, a young group so hopefully we will be here for many years and we will be a better team in terms of maturity and experience next year."

"I think maybe it is doing what we have done," the Scotland captain continued. "Ninety-seven points wins every single league apart from last season, so if we do that again we will keep knocking on the door and we won't be far off it."

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