With Liverpool out of the League Cup, they can focus on winning the title. The FA Cup isn’t as important, and being out of the domestic cups could help them conserve their energy to put in a strong European run and stay healthy in the second half of the season. Is Liverpool better off out of the Champions League if it means winning that all-important number 19?
Jürgen Klopp has heard your questions and your declarations about what his team’s priorities should be, and he is not here for any of it.
In the pre-game press conference before their match against Bayern Munich, when asked if Liverpool would benefit from being out of Europe, he responded, “I really don’t think there is any other coach in the world or manager in the world who has to answer this question when he plays in the Champions League. That’s really unique, it only happens if you are the Liverpool manager.”
How true that statement is could be up for debate, but the fact remains that the tension around Liverpool finally winning another league title oftentimes feels like it eclipses everything else.
Klopp continued, “I only can say that we play this competition - you asked us after we went out in the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup if it’s better for us. We don’t see it like this, we wanted to go through but we didn’t.
“This time, we want to be focused on this game and if it would harm us, if, we could not change it. The whole world will watch this game tomorrow night… I wish that these guys who write this question down would try to prove someday that it is possible to use their ideas in real life and not in the studio. On the other hand it will build momentum, yes if we play good football, afterwards. This game has nothing to do with anything else. If we win tomorrow night and deserve to go through, play good football, it could change the world for us. If not we say now it’s over and let’s concentrate on Fulham.”
Bayern’s home pitch advantage on Wednesday will be somewhat tempered by the away goal rule, which will allow Liverpool to go through with a draw, as long as it’s not another goalless one. This is only the second consecutive season that the club has been back in the Champions League, and maintaining a dominance on the European stage is a good way to lure potential transfer targets, as well as earn much-needed extra cash to spend in seasons to come.
With luck, things will go Liverpool’s way on Wednesday, and they’ll survive long enough to be “randomly” matched with Manchester United in the quarter-finals.