Klopp admits Liverpool under pressure in top four race
April 17 2021 11:47 PM
Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp (Illustration by Reynold/Gulf Times)

AFP/ London

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool are under pressure as they try to salvage a troubled season by finishing in the Premier League’s top four. Klopp’s side have failed to defend the Premier League title they won last term and were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid on Wednesday.
That quarter-final exit means Liverpool’s only route back into Europe’s elite club competition next season is via a top-four finish in the league. The sixth-placed Reds have been outside the top four since early February and they slipped as low as eighth before winning their last three leagues games to get back in the race.
Fourth-placed West Ham’s 3-2 defeat at Newcastle yesterday was a major boost to Liverpool’s hopes. With seven pressure-packed games left, they would go above the Hammers on goal difference with a victory at Leeds tomorrow.
“We just go for it, go and go and go and play our best football,” Klopp said. “We are of course under pressure as we want to finish in the top four but we don’t know in the moment if we will. We have seven games to prove that and we will try.”
Leeds are coming off an impressive victory at leaders Manchester City last weekend where they played half the match with 10 men. Klopp is well aware of the threat posed by Marcelo Bielsa’s side and he said: “We should not forget the opponents we face. We won the last three and that’s why we’re still around, still in the fight for the Champions League spots. It’s clear we have to win games. It would be best to win all of them, but they are tough opponents and we have to respect all of them. We have to win games and put pressure on teams. That’s all we know and we will try.”
Injury-plagued Liverpool’s recent strong form domestically has been helped by the developing partnership between centre-backs Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips. Liverpool have won the four Premier League games they have started together, offering a solution to the defensive issues triggered by long-term injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
“Using the information you have just given me I’d better start them in the next game as well,” Klopp said. “These things have to develop. There was never a question about their quality, the boys have quality but you have to bring it together.”
Klopp has hailed Leeds’ fearless approach under coach Bielsa and warned his players of the unique challenges the Yorkshire outfit pose, unlike any other team in the Premier League. “(Leeds) are tough opponents and we really respect that,” Klopp said.
Klopp said he was surprised at how Leeds managed to deliver late counterattacks despite their numerical disadvantage against City. “I watched the game and it was really exciting to see what is possible in football,” Klopp said.

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