It was a rare insight into the Liverpool dressing room and it provided a stinging assessment of a season of underachievement at Anfield.
Just 20 minutes earlier, Manchester United had eased to a home win against Chelsea that had given the Red Devils the points they needed to join Newcastle United, Manchester City and Arsenal in next season’s Champions League and leave Liverpool without a seat at European football’s top table.
Usually the one to breakthrough even the stingiest of defences with a moment of genius, Mohamed Salah broke through the barrier between supporter and player and delivered a short, sharp view on a season that few will want to remember on Merseyside.
Speaking via his Twitter account, the Reds star said: “I’m totally devastated. There’s absolutely no excuse for this. We had everything we needed to make it to next year’s Champions League and we failed. We are Liverpool and qualifying to the competition is the bare minimum. I am sorry but it’s too soon for an uplifting or optimistic post. We let you and ourselves down.”
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp responded in his pre-match press conference on Friday suggesting Salah’s reaction was ‘completely normal’ and not one of the ‘bad things’ he is regularly made aware of in the world of social media. Yet seeing one of his star players, and the man many consider to be integral to Liverpool’s success, deliver such a negative assessment must have provided some discomfort for the former Borussia Dortmund manager.
Klopp, by his own admission, had already accepted his side’s fate, and he is ready to move on in his bid to put the Reds in a position to challenge for major honours once again next season. Major transformations are not needed at either end of the pitch, but there is a general feeling Klopp will need to refresh his options in midfield if he is to truly move on from what has been a disappointing campaign.
The departures of the ever-reliable James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have already been confirmed and Arthur will return to Juventus after a loan spell at Anfield that can only be described as ‘underwhelming’. Thiago and Jordan Henderson are approaching the closing years of their careers and they are now under pressure from the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones, who have both shown flashes of their undoubted ability throughout the season.
But a need for reinforcements in the middle of the park is top of Klopp’s list of priorities as the summer trading rapidly approaches and the fact speculation linking the Reds boss with a number of midfielders is no coincidence. The likes of Wolves star Matheus Nunes, Chelsea’s Mason Mount and West Ham United captain Declan Rice are all believed to be targets for Liverpool this summer - but there is one other Premier League star that would fit the bill perfectly and play no small part in an improved season next time out.
The Reds have been suggested as a possible destination for Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and there are strong suggestions the Argentina international will be allowed to depart the Amex Stadium this summer, despite helping the Seagulls qualify for Europe for the first time in their history this season.
The former Boca Juniors player has been in stunning form in the last two seasons and even made himself a national hero when he helped Argentina lift the World Cup in Qatar in December. He has already proven he can handle the physical nature of competing in a Premier League midfield and has shown all of the neccassary qualities that Klopp demands of his players under Graham Potter and current Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi.
Working alongside another reported Liverpool target in Moises Caicedo, Mac Allister’s energy, intensity and quality on the ball have played no small part in what many consider to be the most successful season in Brighton’s history as they belatedly pushed for a Champions League spot, before securing a Europa League place with a hard-earned draw against Manchester City in midweek.
Mac Allister’s battling qualities have been lauded over the last 12 months - but it is his ability to provide end product that will really have Klopp this season. The 24-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided 3 assists in 39 appearances in all competitions, with his 15 goal contributions placing him above all of his potential competitors for a place in the Liverpool midfield.
Mac Allister still has two years remaining on his existing Brighton contract and the Seagulls are believed to have a one-year extension option to exercise - but there has been an acceptance that a significant offer could see the star ply his trade elsewhere next season - and we believe he would be the perfect fit to lead a new look Liverpool midfielder come the big kick-off in August.