Jamie Carragher’s cold assessment of Liverpool’s failure in Athens was brutally clear: “We were just not good enough.”
Anfield’s lion-hearted defender saw AC Milan grab their opener from a free-kick deflected past Jose Reina by Filippo Inzaghi’s arm, before a late break through the Reds’ defence by the same striker as Liverpool were pressing desperately for an equaliser.
Dirk Kuyt’s late effort was not enough to haul the final into extra-time, and Carragher said: “The honest truth is that we were not good enough.
“There’s no point making excuses, Milan just about deserved it. But nobody remembers the runners-up, we know we did not do enough.
“I am not going to moan about things that went against us. We did not do enough and we must pick ourselves up and have another go next season.”
But the Bootle-born centre-half knows it was mighty close to Liverpool claiming their sixth European Cup.
He said: “We limited them to just one chance in the first half, but when we were creating chances in that period we had to take them. And when we didn’t we were punished with that free-kick.
“In the second period maybe we got tired towards the end and that gave them the chance for their second.
“These are the little things that cost you in the end. But we will bounce back, we have shown we are a very good side in the Champions League.
“Their goal at half-time was a killer. I know some people might think it was handball, but I’m not going to start crying about that, they are a great side and deserved it on the night.
“They did not have many chances, I can only remember a couple. But they scored their chances.
“It did not happen for us, we never really created much either. We did not create a situation where we could really go at Milan and create real pressure.
Midfielder Xabi Alonso echoed his colleague’s views, saying: “It had been a long road to the final and we are unhappy that we didn’t achieve what we wanted. Everyone was very disappointed in the dressing room.
“It was a very tight game. And I have no doubt their first goal so near to the break was the key moment.
“The ball was deflected, Pepe Reina would have saved it otherwise, you lose a final and it is down to something as small as that.
“They were then able to defend very deep and make it hard for us to find space.
“That first goal was lucky, and it allowed Milan to sit back afterwards and hit us on the break, and that is how they scored their second.”
He added: “At the moment it is no consolation that we have reached another final and finished third in the Premier League.
“But we have must look forward and make sure we improve as a side. We must get some rest and come back next season refreshed and looking to get better.
“Yes I expect the squad to be improved, but we will have to wait and see what happens. I am not thinking too much about such things for now, but I realise things will happen wit the squad.
“We will see what we will see. We will have to wait to discover where we go from here.”