Jurgen Klopp says it is ‘almost impossible’ for Liverpool to finish in the top four this season, as the Reds boss warned of ‘huge financial losses’ after lamenting ‘insane mistakes’ for costing them in the hotly-contested race.
Liverpool have made a pitiful attempt of defending their domestic crown this season, with injuries and an uncharacteristically blunt attack seeing the Premier League champions fall to sixth in the table.
The Reds are currently five points adrift of Thomas Tuchel’s resurgent Chelsea in fourth and face strong competition from West Ham, Everton and Spurs in challenging for qualification into European football’s elite competition.
And Klopp has conceded that his side face an ‘almost impossible’ task in clinching Champions League football next season via league position.
‘I like to be an optimist, but in the league it is almost impossible to qualify in the competition for the places that we have,’ Klopp told Lotthar Mattheus, who was guest editing Sport Bild via Sport Witness.
‘At Tottenham, Gareth Bale is now playing again, and they are also in the running. Plus City and Manchester United, who are far away. Chelsea is on the rise.
‘Reaching Champions League qualification through the league will be difficult, we know that. You don’t usually win the Champions League itself in a year with injury worries as big as we have, you know that, Lothar.’
Liverpool’s woeful form this year has been attributed to their extensive injury crisis, with key stars Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson all missing for spells of the season.
However, the Reds’ home form has alarmingly slumped this campaign. Once described as ‘Fortress Anfield’, Liverpool have lost their last six games at home, including defeats to Fulham, Burnley and Brighton.
Klopp added that his side will rue ‘insane mistakes’ in hampering their chances for a top four finish.
‘The opponent usually doesn’t need a lot of chances against us because we make big mistakes, insane ones that can almost be described as slapstick,’ Klopp continued.
‘On the other hand, we create a lot of chances, in the ‘expected goals’ we are still second behind Manchester City in the Premier League, but far from them in the ones we actually scored. This problem has been going on throughout the season.’
Finishing outside the top four will do more than just serve as a blow to the ego of Klopp and Liverpool, with financial ramifications expected for missing out on the Champions League.
The German conceded that the club are braced for such losses, but insisted that he has the full support of everyone at the club to turn things around.
‘It [no Champions League football] would mean a huge financial loss,’ Klopp added. ‘Otherwise not that much. I am aware: in almost all football clubs in the world, I would be questioned in a situation like our current one.