Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said Manchester City would not have won the Premier League this season if they had had to deal with an injury crisis like that of the Merseyside club.
Liverpool were without central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for most of the campaign due to knee injuries, while Joel Matip was sidelined because of an ankle injury.
Fabinho, who was moved from midfield to central defence to help plug the gaps, also picked up a muscle problem, while forward Diogo Jota and midfielder Jordan Henderson were also out for large parts of the season due to injuries.
“It is how I said before this year, with the amount of injuries we have had, it was not the year to become champions. No chance. For nobody,” Klopp said before Sunday’s final league game against Crystal Palace.
“As good as they are, if (Manchester) City have their three centre-halves out, no,” they don’t win the league. “Three centre-halves of United, no.”
Liverpool, who stormed to the title last season, were eighth in March with Champions League qualification looking unlikely, but Klopp’s side went on a nine-match unbeaten run to move up to fourth.
Chelsea (67 points), Liverpool and Leicester City (66 points each) are in a three-way battle for the last two Champions League places ahead of Sunday’s final round of matches.
“We have fought back a bit, accepted the difficulties and made the best of it,” Klopp said. “And if we win on Sunday, and if we qualify for the Champions League, then we made the best of it. That is it.”