Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says qualifying for Champions League their first priority

Sunday's goalless draw at home to Premier League leaders Manchester United, together with wins for Leicester and Manchester City, left Liverpool fourth in the table.

Agence France-Presse January 18, 2021 17:18:29 IST
Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says qualifying for Champions League their first priority

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during a warmup session ahead of the Manchester United clash. AP

London: Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool have a fight on their hands just to qualify for the Champions League this season before he can even think about a title defence.

Sunday's goalless draw at home to Premier League leaders Manchester United, together with wins for Leicester and Manchester City, left Liverpool fourth in the table.

A series of injuries to key defenders, most notably to Virgil van Dijk, has disrupted Liverpool's season, but they are also missing the presence of Diogo Jota at the other end as goals have dried up.

The defending champions are only five points ahead of ninth-placed West Ham and, with points being dropped by all teams, Klopp is aware the competition is likely to be closer than ever.

"In the season when we came second (2018/19), the day when I started really thinking about the title race was the day when it was clear that we are in the Champions League," he said.

"I know my job and I know what I have to do. The most important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and I know how difficult it is. This season will be a tough race for the top four."

The 53-year-old German acknowledged fans were "not the most patient species" and wanted to win every match.

"I'm not too different to that but I am long enough in the business to know that you have to go through more difficult periods as well," he said.

"It's not the most difficult in my life — not even close to it — so it's just a situation where we play football and have had injuries, still have injuries but got used to the injuries we had in the long term and now players coming back."

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers urges Leicester City to fight through injury crisis with top four spot at stake
Fwire

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers urges Leicester City to fight through injury crisis with top four spot at stake

Rodgers' side lost Harvey Barnes to a left knee injury during the 3-1 home defeat against Arsenal, the latest in a series of injuries plaguing the club.

Champions League: RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann wary of Liverpool despite results
Sports

Champions League: RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann wary of Liverpool despite results

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have won just three of their last 12 games and fly to Budapest for the last 16, first-leg tie against Leipzig on the back of three straight Premier League defeats.

Premier League: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel takes blame for Hakim Ziyech's struggles at club
Sports

Premier League: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel takes blame for Hakim Ziyech's struggles at club

Tuchel said he would need all of his players to cope with a frantic schedule as Chelsea compete in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.