With two games to go, Liverpool can seal a top four spot irrespective of what Arsenal and Manchester United do in their remaining games. Beating a West Ham United side in twelfth shorn of Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll, Mark Noble, and Cheikhou Kouyaté along with relegated Middlesbrough to reach 76 points shouldn't be the most fearsome of tasks, but unbridled nervousness abounds.
The financial benefits of Champions League football are well-documented, and Jürgen Klopp did not deny that qualifying would have influence on Liverpool’s summer transfer plans ahead of Sunday’s trip to London.
“Yes, it has influence and that’s how it is,” Klopp admitted. “The players we are talking to are good players and I know they have offers from other clubs. Maybe they will play Champions League whatever.
“It’s important for the club. Everyone knows there is a lot of money in the Champions League. It’s really exciting to be there and also there’s the money that you can earn and use as a football club. Should I go to the players in the dressing room and say: ‘Boys. The better you play, the better players we can get to take your places next season?’ That would make no sense.
“We all know about the situation. All the players want to qualify and play in this fantastic tournament. The transfer talks we’ve had have been very positive so far but that doesn’t mean that they will always work out. We have to give everything and then we will see if we can convince the player.”
While open and ambitious transfer talk may leave Liverpool looking foolish, it is Champions League qualification that will settle frayed nerves. Klopp isn’t saying anything unreasonable or out of touch here, but now is the time to focus on and support the current group of players to help the club move forward.
We know the names that have been linked, Klopp has said there have been positive talks, and Liverpool have signed good players during Klopp’s tenure. Merseyside’s finest sit in third, the summer transfer window has not yet opened, and there are still two games to go. This is not the time for pointing fingers.