Luis Suarez has admitted there were tears of rage beneath the Liverpool shirt he pulled over his face at Selhurst Park in Liverpool's penultimate Premier League game of the season as he left the field knowing his title dream was over.
The Liverpool striker spoke about his end-of-season agony after Crystal Palace had come back to draw 3-3 as he prepared to fly to Uruguay for World Cup preparations. "I had a lot of rage inside me knowing that just a week before we had a great chance to win the league," he said. "In that moment I realised that although we had a game left, the opportunity had probably gone. I just wanted to hide my face and get down the tunnel.
"We had had such a great season but it wasn't going to be enough. The key game was against Chelsea. Maybe we lacked a touch of concentration or focus to stop that goal [from Demba Ba] or create a clear chance after it to get the draw and then depend on ourselves. I don't think Chelsea would have scored otherwise and a draw would have been OK for us. But after losing that game we knew that we were no longer relying on ourselves and that was a big blow psychologically to the team."
The striker said the only consolation for the Liverpool players was knowing that they could not have given any more. "It's been a great season," he added. "We did all we could. Every player gave absolutely everything. We would have taken just being in the top four at the start of the season. But over the course of the season it became clear that we had a chance to win the league. Then coming so close, it was heartbreaking to miss out.
"But if we look back at that original target then we should be really happy. We are back in the Champions league, which is where Liverpool belong.
"My season wasn't bad. The whole team played really well and we gave the fans something to be proud of."
There was even talk of Liverpool's players being better equipped for a title challenge next season having come so close this time. Suarez agreed: "We were first with just a few weeks left so that will give the younger players great experience going into next season. Those young players will grow and be stronger next time."
Liverpool supporters just hope Suarez is still at Anfield next season to lead their charge. The Uruguayan was bombarded with questions about a possible move to La Liga in the summer during the presentation in Barcelona of his new sponsor, 888 Poker.
Asked about his future he said: "My head now is focused on the World Cup. Everyone knows there will be media speculation this summer but I have a contract with Liverpool." So how does he react to stories about him leaving Liverpool? "I just turn the page," he replied. "I know what the speculation is like and I try not to take any notice. I know what I want; [the reports are] more speculation than reality."
He specifically denied that there is a clause in his contract giving Barcelona and Real Madrid priority if there was any bidding for him this summer. He said: "As far as I'm aware there is no clause that suggests a priority for any team."
Suarez could still scoop the Golden Boot for most league goals in Europe this season. He said: "It's an honour for me to be fighting for it with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa who has also had an incredible season. I just hope Ronaldo doesn't score on Saturday."
If Ronaldo fails to find the net in Real Madrid's last game of the season he will remain tied on 31 goals with Suarez, though the Uruguayan will have a better goals-per-game ratio than the Portuguese. Messi is currently three goals behind Suarez and Costa four.
Asked about Saturday's Spanish title play-off between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, Suarez said: "On the one hand Atletico deserve it because of the great season they have had but Barça are at home and will want to win the league every bit as much."