Liverpool face a daunting task to finish in the top four, Klopp says
Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s exit from the Champions League gave them a “massive task” to salvage their Premier League season and the Anfield manager said three games in a week against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal would boost their hopes fulfill or nullify.
Karim Benzema’s second-half goal – his 13th goal in his last eight Champions League knockout games – was enough to give Real Madrid a 1-0 win in the last 16 second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu and to secure a 6th overall -2 overall.
– Ogden: Madrid beat Liverpool to cement UCL favorites status
Liverpool’s early exit from the competition means they are no longer in the running to win a silver this season and as they currently sit sixth in the Premier League their only chance of salvaging a win from the season is by going under to place in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
With fourth-placed Tottenham six points clear of Liverpool and Newcastle United two points clear of Champions League runners-up in 2022 with a game in hand, Klopp admitted his players now need to focus on finishing fourth.
“We want to be in the Champions League every year and that’s a huge task for us [to finish fourth] and we know that,” said Klopp. “After the international break, we have a real week ahead of us – City, Chelsea and Arsenal. That will probably determine what we get out of the season.
“People might say we lost it at Bournemouth [with a 1-0 defeat]but it’s a crucial week and we’re hoping the lads come back from internationals healthy and early enough for us to try.
“Our job is to get absolutely everything out of the season that is possible. It’s been a strange season so far. But the Bournemouth defeat put us under pressure because with three more points other teams could really feel our breath.”
After saying before the game that Liverpool had only a one per cent chance of recouping their three-goal deficit from the first leg, Klopp conceded his side hadn’t reached the level needed for an unexpected result.
“To come here with a three-goal difference you need a special performance and we didn’t show a special performance,” he said. “It was a good performance but Real were the team that was in control. Ali [Becker] made two sensational saves to keep us in the game, but Madrid were the better team and the right team went through.
“With the story that we have in the competition, we should start every season with the idea of winning it. We’ve reached the final a couple of times, three times in the last few years and if you want to win the competition you have to be outstanding and we weren’t tonight.
“If you want to win you have to beat Real, Man City, Napoli, who beat us and are a really good team, and Bayern Munich. But Real Madrid, with their history, are a really strong side and they can do it.”
https://www.espn.com/soccer/liverpool-engliverpool/story/4901758/liverpool-face-massive-task-to-finish-in-top-four-says-jurgen-klopp Liverpool face a daunting task to finish in the top four, Klopp says