Jürgen Klopp isn’t kidding himself. He knows that finishing in the Top Four this season will mean a heck of a fight over the last four games of the campaign. Last week’s home loss against Crystal Palace was a painful setback, and there’s no doubt that Liverpool’s last remaining opponents— Watford tomorrow, then Southampton, West Ham, and Middlesbrough— now smell blood in the water. The Reds are now in a position where they could do everything right over the next four matches and still come up short.
Klopp knows all this. But he also knows that you can’t just give up. And, ahead of tomorrow night’s match against Watford, he spoke to the press about what exactly it’s going to take to secure Champions League football next season.
“Even if I didn’t feel pressure, I would with your questions. One of the first things I learned in football is that it makes sense only to think about the next game. It has absolutely no influence on the games after that, and you have no idea who you can use in the game after this. You have another four, five, six days to prepare for this game and think about this game. They are important, we know. If we win no games in the last four, it will be difficult to be in the Champions League. If we win one, it will be unlikely. If we win two, it’s not really likely. But if we start winning three, it can work. If we win four, I would say it’s more likely it will happen. So that’s how it is. We know all this. But the only way to do this is to win the next one, and that’s what we should try.”
Klopp also talked about the pressure managers are under in the modern game.
“It’s difficult enough without involving all the pressure around. I know my team, and they will listen to what I say. That means we are focused on our own path. That’s the only thing we have real influence on. If that’s what life was like for football managers, it would pretty much solve all our problems. It would be perfect but it will be hard. It’s always like this. We stand here and I should say now: ‘We have to win all four games.’ Do we know how the other teams will play their games? Maybe they will lose all of them. That may be not possible.”
He also mentioned Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge returning to training, emphasizing that whatever happens, this squad isn’t going down without a fight.
“We are in the best situation squad-wise in the last two or three weeks, because Adam is back, Daniel looks like he could be back and that’s good. That’s better than the week before. That’s a new situation for us and now we can think about how we use this. We are prepared for these last four games, but if we only see it as pressure, then we should have lost a few more games before, because then we wouldn’t have pressure any more, and we would fight for nothing. We are fighting for nearly the highest position in this league, and that’s good. That’s much better than last year. We want to show we are ready for it.”