Jurgen Klopp maintains his Liverpool side

 

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will not treat the Europa League as an after thought next season if they miss out on a top-four place.


Liverpool’s manager recognises the odds are stacked against his club returning to the Champions League, so much so that he accepts winning their remaining games — starting at Old Trafford tomorrow — may not suffice.


‘Five wins won’t be enough. It depends how the other teams do but without five wins we don’t have a chance,’ Klopp said.


‘If we are five points behind with 15 to play for why would we write it off? Man United still think they can become champions, rightly so. We think we can still go to the Champions League.


‘But we still need results in other games. We know that. Without winning your own games you won’t go anywhere, we are not that naive. This is the most important game of the season. We play United so let’s go for it. We don’t think about anything else and make sure we play our best game.’


Should they miss out on the Champions League it would be the first time they have failed to finish in the top four since 2017.


Klopp referred to the complexities of a campaign that revolves around playing on Thursdays and Sundays.


He also pointed out that the financial implications of no Champions League football for a club that this week posted accounts showing a £46million pre-tax loss would ‘not be good’.


But the idea that Liverpool would disregard the Europa League is alien to Klopp — and he pointed to the example of tomorrow’s opponents, who are effectively in this season’s final after a 6-2 dismantling of Roma, of how the tournament can be positive.


‘Since I am in England we have only played in the Europa League once and we went to the final, so it was good — apart from the final,’ said Klopp, referring to the 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in 2016. ‘On Thursday, I saw a Man United team enjoying the Europa League a lot. It was always like this.


‘We will not think, “My God! We have to play that!” No, no, no. It is a great competition. I haven’t thought it through to the end because I know, even though it is not likely, that there is a little chance (for the Champions League) as well, so let’s give it a try and think about what happens next season.’


Liverpool have a huge challenge if they want to overhaul Manchester City next season but one thing the manager wants to see is how things pan out when he gets the chance to play what is regarded as his best team.


He has never been able to play Alisson in goal, with a back four comprising of his regular full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in central defence with Thiago Alcantara alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield behind strikers Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.


‘We know our resources inside and that’s not a problem,’ said Klopp. ‘You cannot become champions every year and City won’t be every year even when they have a pretty good perspective. We know that if the players come back we missed, we will be better immediately. We will have a much better rhythm.’

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