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Jürgen Klopp on Challenge and Excitement of Top Four Battle

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Thursday’s clash with Chelsea may not determine the top four race, but it has the feel of a potentially decisive game.

Paris Saint-Germain v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Group C Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Liverpool take on Chelsea on Thursday evening in mid-week Premier League action, and a win for either side will leapfrog them past upstart West Ham United and into the top four. It makes for a clear headlining match this week in England.

There will be another 11 games to play, and no matter what the result is tomorrow it won’t be the top four race won or over for either side, but it’s a potentially decisive game in the seasons of both clubs—and it will be a hard game for the Reds.

“It’s difficult to have more possession than Chelsea, but everything will be required,” said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp when asked about the challenge his side will face on Thursday evening against Thomas Tuchel’s London Blues.

“We will have to defend, to work. We won’t be facing a deep block. We will have to be patient in some moments and show desire to defend because they are a top team. They will ask a lot and we have to make certain we have the answers.”

If Liverpool can follow up their victory on Sunday against Sheffield United with a win against Chelsea, it may start to feel as though the club have finally pushed past a difficult two-month stretch that has seen them drop out of the title race.

Chelsea, though, won’t be going away even if the Reds win. And despite that few would have expected them near the top four, it would be foolish to assume West Ham will, either—or the others challenging for a Champions League finish.

“A week ago we were out and now we are around it again,” Klopp added. “The challenge and job now is clear, we have to win as many games as possible to make the top four and Chelsea has the same targets so we will give it a proper try.

“We know Chelsea’s quality, and other teams—our neighbours [Everton], Spurs, West Ham, Leicester. They all really want top four. It is exciting for other fans but maybe not how we would like it but we will fight for it.”