Departing midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits his only regret at leaving Liverpool is he could not finish with a trophy.
The Holland international played a key role in the club’s Champions League and Premier League wins and while a third-placed finish to an injury-plagued season was, in itself, something of an achievement there was no silverware to sign off with.
Wijnaldum insists a future destination has not yet been decided on but he is so highly regarded by team-mates and manager Jurgen Klopp there is no acrimony at the nature of his departure.
The Dutchman turns 31 this year and allowing him to leave rather than extend his contract on more lucrative terms is the first serious move in the regeneration of Klopp’s trophy-winning squad.
“I’m really happy that we still managed to turn it around and qualify for the Champions League,” Wijnaldum told the club website after the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield.
“I think that’s something this club deserves, something the fans deserve – and the players also – but on the other side, also sad that it looks like it’s going to be my last game.
“The only regret I probably will have is that I couldn’t leave with a title or a prize, that would be really, really good for me, for the fans and for everyone.
“But everyone knows the circumstances we had during the season. It was really difficult – really difficult.
“But if you look how we changed it around, a few weeks ago I don’t think a lot of people would have thought that we could finish third and qualify for the Champions League. That’s a good one.
“I’m happy we could bring Liverpool to the Champions League and that I basically put them in a good spot when I leave.”
While Wijnaldum’s next club remains to be settled there are decisions to be made on the futures of other players.
The loss of Liverpool’s three senior centre-backs to season-ending injuries allowed 24-year-old Nat Phillips to enjoy a breakthrough season.
Phillips looked destined to join Swansea on loan in October but the deal fell through at the last minute, although too late for him to be included in the club’s Champions League squad for the group stages.
He made 17 appearances in total but with the expected return to fitness of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip and the club interested in signing RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate, Phillips’ chances may be limited next season.
However, Phillips is focused on the summer and getting ready for pre-season with Liverpool.
“Don’t get me wrong even though I feel like this season has been successful for me I know I’ve got plenty to work on and plenty to improve on and that’s what I will be doing in the off-season,” he said.
“I’ll have a little break and then get back to training on my own and working on things that maybe you don’t get the opportunity to work on during the season because it’s so intense.
“So, I’ll be doing that and hopefully have a strong pre-season and just continue to develop and build on what I have so far this year.”
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