Lots of people— Liverpool fans, like myself, definitely included in this— have made fun of Arsenal and their Fourth Place Trophy. And yet here we are, gunning for that very trophy.
In the press conference ahead of Liverpool’s trip to West Brom, manager Jürgen Klopp whether he considered finishing in the Top Four equivalent to winning a trophy. His response: “yeah, basically.”
“Yes, I would say. It is the most difficult league to qualify for the Champions League because in no other league you have that wide quality, teams around that are unbelievable so, yes, I could subscribe to that. Always in a season, maybe a very spectacular season, three or four clubs can challenge until the end. Usually close to the end there is only one or two teams left in this battle so the rest of the top teams fight for the Champions League. It depends on your point of view if it is really good or the minimum you should get and it would be a real success if we do it and disappointing if we can’t reach it. That is how it is but that is because of the season. We really put ourselves in a position where it makes sense to go for it and when you want to have it, then you would be disappointed if you can’t have it.”
Klopp also doesn’t buy the story that progressing in Cup competitions or in Europe serves as a distraction from the league. If anything, it gives a boost.
“Actually I think being in the semi-final of the FA Cup is a wonderful thing. Being still in Europa League, we had the situation last year, actually we enjoyed it. We had our quarter-final (at this stage), that was our Dortmund game, we didn’t feel a second it disturbs in the league, it brought us through. I think Man United is a big favourite for this competition so probably they will enjoy it also. If you want if it is an advantage, I don’t know, there are still a few teams who now have a game every three days because of different fixtures, more fixtures than we have, yeah...I understand all of this, we take our situation and try and make the best of it.”
He also thinks the Top Four race is going to go down to the wire and he’s not taking anything for granted.
“When I look at my history, I would say I’m sure it will go on to the last day. Most of the time, it was like this actually. So we have to be prepared for this. If we can sort something for us early, then we should try, but I’m not sure that will be possible, because they all want to go there. There are interesting fixtures over the next few weeks. It’s good. It’s a good moment to watch the Premier League, I would say. There are lots of exciting things to go for.”