The difference between football's haves and have-nots is more substantial now more than ever. The ability to offer Champions League football to potential transfers is a huge draw, and one that Liverpool will likely have to overcome yet again in the upcoming summer transfer window.
However, if jumping straight into a Champions League side is the most important thing for a young player, Jürgen Klopp is not interested:
Obviously, it's not 100%, but maybe 80% we are not in the Champions League next year. So if I would speak to a player now and he would tell me: ‘if you were playing in the Champions League next year I would be really interested', I would put the phone down from my side. I am not interested.
I always tell players if when you are 35 or 36 and look back on your career and you think about the one year when you didn't play Champions League then you are really a poor boy.
There are so many things you can do and reach if you go together with the team. You can qualify for the Champions League, play Champions League, maybe win it or whatever. It is a much more satisfying thing than all the rest. That is what I would say. It is pushing the train, not jumping on the running train. That is what we need here.
If somebody says: ‘no, you don't play Champions League next year' then goodbye and thank you, have fun next year wherever you will be. We will find players or we have players already that will go our way. That is not my way, that is the normal way for a club not playing in the Champions League.
This statement from the Liverpool boss is largely a continuation on previous sentiments about wanting to build from within, and it is a philosophy that served him well during his successful rebuilding of Dortmund. This long-term approach is also the reason why FSG were so keen on bringing the charismatic German in to begin with.
Even if Liverpool do miraculously achieve Champions League qualification, they will face a disadvantage in the transfer market, with Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea all expected to be overhauling their squads. But having Klopp in place and settled is an advantage, and if he can target the right players with the right mentality, this summer could still be a successful one.