Trent Alexander-Arnold has revealed how Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has helped his players cope with the intense pressure of fighting for honours both home and abroad this season.
And the defender is convinced the Reds can unlock further potential next term as they begin preparations for the Champions League final.
Liverpool won their final nine Premier League games – their best such closing run in 13 years – to keep pace with Manchester City and finish on an astonishing 97 points, just one behind the eventual champions.
Klopp’s side simultaneously progressed to a European Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 1 having overcome Bayern Munich, Porto and Barcelona during the knockout stages.
That has, according to Alexander-Arnold, been made possible by the man-management skills of the Reds boss.
“He helps us to relax before games, to not take things in too intense a manner,” said the 20-year-old.
CLICK TO PLAYANFIELD IN FULL VOICE DESPITE MISSING OUT ON LEAGUE TITLE
“Even before the last international break of the season it’s basically been ‘must-win’ games, but the manager’s helped us not to think that way.
“He’s just encouraged us to play our football and know that we’re good enough to win each game without that actual pressure of ‘you have to win’.
“It’s more about our performance, our mentality going into games. I think it helps us as a team to just relax and improve and keep trying to do as well as possible for him, for each other and for the supporters.”
Liverpool will train on Tuesday before being given five days off to rest and recuperate. They will then head to Marbella for a week-long training camp ahead of the Champions League final.
Alexander-Arnold, though, is already contemplating the Reds’ next step in the top flight.
“We’ve shown that we’re a really proud team,” he said. “We’ve made massive improvements from last season and we’ve matched the achievement of reaching the Champions League final too, so there is still so much to play for.
“We also know that we’ve probably got more potential to unlock as well, which is exciting for us.
“We’ll learn from (the season) and we’ll use it to motivate us and inspire us to try and get better and eradicate those points that we’ve dropped.
“We’ll look back at where the games were that we could have done better and think that we can still improve.”
Alexander-Arnold’s assist for Sadio Mane in the 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday was his 12th in the top flight, a record for a defender in a single Premier League campaign.
The England international now has 16 in all competitions, three more than fellow Reds full-back Andy Robertson with whom there has been a friendly rivalry over who creates the most goals this season.
“Even though its called a competition, it’s not really a competition. If one of us is maybe about to cross, the other isn’t hoping that it’s a bad cross or that we don’t score from it!
VIDEO LOADINGKLOPP ON THE RUSH FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL TICKETS AND HIGH COST OF TRAVEL
“It’s more that we just keep pushing each other to get better and better and to keep providing for the team.
“I think that to provide 20-odd goals for your team is something we can both be proud of.”