Liverpool’s Champions League hopes look all but finished following a humiliating 5-2 defeat at Anfield in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie against Real Madrid, but there’s no time to sit and nurse their wounds with a Premier League game coming on Saturday.
The Reds will travel to London to take on Crystal Palace, and given their current mid-table status nothing less than a win will do if they want to keep their faint hopes of a top four finish that would in some small way salvage their as yet miserable season alive.
“I can see that people think that,” manager Jürgen Klopp said following Tuesday’s heavy loss when asked if the result might impact the team’s confidence heading into the weekend’s must win league game. “It’s understandable but that’s actually not allowed.
“I told the boys after, this is a different thing that happened tonight. It’s one result the opposite of what we want. Now if we now this one game to be influential, we are really silly. So now we have a few days to make sure we take the right things out of the game.”
It’s easy to say Tuesday’s defeat and their efforts to keep pace in the top four race in a season they started off as one of the favourites to win the league are two different things and one should have no impact on the other, but proof will come on the pitch.
With league games coming up against Wolves, Man United, and Bournemouth after they face Palace and before the second leg of their tie against Madrid, they likely need at least ten points—and all the right noises now will hardly matter if they don’t get that.
“We have to improve,” Klopp added. “Third goal, massively. First goal, massively. But we have to take the good as well. It would be horrible if we don’t do that. The intensity, the effort [in the first half]. It could be damaging but I hope I can make sure it isn’t.”