Liverpool’s recent disappointing 1-1 draws to Leeds and Newcastle have severely damaged their hopes of of qualifying for next year’s Champion’s League. Now four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, Liverpool can’t afford any more dropped points over the final five matches of the season.
That puts Sunday’s trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford firmly in the must-win category. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was asked if he believed the match was truly a must-win situation for Liverpool to maintain their top-four hopes in his press conference today, and his position couldn’t be more clear.
“More than 100 percent,” said Klopp. “Without winning games, we have no chance of having European football.”
One factor that will work in Liverpool’s favor is they are the more well-rested team for a change. United played the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, a 6-2 victory over Roma, on Thursday evening. The EL’s Thursday matches are challenging in the best of times, but their impact has been amplified during this COVID shortened season, and Klopp acknowledged the difficulty of playing on so many Thursday nights.
“When you play Thursday and Sunday every week, you get used to it but it doesn’t make it better,” he admitted. “It’s a tough challenge for them. Friday is recovery, Saturday second recovery and then they play. They have no chance to change things but I don’t think they want to really at the moment.”
They won’t want to change things because they are flying high at the moment due to their emphatic semi-final win and excellent form in the Premier League. Even if they’re on short rest, Klopp is expecting a stiff challenge from the Red Devils.
“It will be a tough game, an intense one. We watched United last night and they are good! Especially when you let them play. They were flying. I am pretty sure United still feel they have a chance [for the title]. Both teams have to win it which is a good recipe for the game.”