Liverpool could have already had their place in the Champions League wrapped up. They probably should. Instead, they head into the final group stage match knowing that nothing less than a victory over Napoli will do.
The good news, though, is that they still have their fate in their own hands—they don’t have to worry about anything beyond the team they’re facing off against. And the good news is that they get to play the game at Anfield.
“The only way to make sure is to really perform at our highest level,” manager Jürgen Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference. “That makes it special. But we caused the situation and we are responsible.
“The group is a hard one. That was clear when we got the draw. Now we have the chance to go through and that is special after the campaign we played so far. It’s a big opportunity for us and we will try everything to put it right.”
While Liverpool are top of the table in the Premier League after 16 games, in Europe they have put themselves in a difficult position thanks to a poor record on the road, losing all three of their away games.
And while Klopp thinks they played well enough in their final away match, a 2-1 loss at Paris Saint-Germain, he is well aware his side didn’t play well enough in a 1-0 loss at Napoli and a disappointing 2-0 loss away to Red Star.
“We knew after Napoli it was not good enough to get something ,” he said. “Belgrade was not better. Paris was an okay away game—you can lose to PSG in their stadium. That can happen. We gave them a game but lost it.”
If Liverpool go out —or get bumped down to the Europa League—they will have a fair few regrets, then. They will also have nobody but themselves to blame. But they do still control their own destiny. And the game is at Anfield.
“So far at home we were good,” Klopp added. “We have to be even better tomorrow night. I told the boys, I really think if nothing happens with referee decisions, we will get tomorrow night what we deserve.”