Klopp: Top-4 finish ‘massive task’ for Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s Champions League exit gave them a “huge task” to save their season in the Premier League and the Anfield manager said three games in a week against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal would make or break their hopes.

Karim Benzema’s second-half goal — his 13th in his last eight Champions League knockout games — was enough to secure a 1-0 round-of-16, second-leg victory for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu and a 6-2 aggregate victory.

– Ogden: Madrid see off Liverpool, cement UCL favorite status

Liverpool’s early exit from the competition means they won’t win any more silverware this season and currently sit sixth in the Premier League, their only chance of salvaging some sort of success from the campaign lies in a top four finish and qualification. Next season’s Champions League.

With fourth-placed Tottenham six points ahead of Liverpool, and two points ahead of 2022 Champions League runners-up Newcastle United with a game in hand, Klopp admitted his players must now focus on finishing fourth.

“We want to be in the Champions League every year and it’s a huge task for us [to finish fourth] And we know it,” Klopp said. “After the international break, we have a proper week ahead of us — City, Chelsea and Arsenal. That will probably determine what we get out of the season.

“People can say we lost at Bournemouth [with a 1-0 defeat]But it’s a decisive week and we hope the guys are healthy and back from international duty soon enough and we can give it a try.

“Our job is to squeeze absolutely everything out of a possible season. It’s been a strange one so far. But losing at Bournemouth has put us under pressure because, with three more points, other teams can really feel our breath.”

Saying before the game that Liverpool had only a one per cent chance of overturning their three-goal first-leg deficit, Klopp admitted his side had failed to perform at the level required to secure an unexpected result.

“To come here with a three goal difference you need a special performance and we didn’t show a special performance,” he said. “It was a good performance, but Real controlled the team. Ali [Becker] Two sensational saves to keep us in the game, but Madrid are the better team and the right team to go through to the next round.

“The history we have in the competition, so we should start every season thinking about winning it. We’ve been to the final a couple of times, three times in the last few years, and if you want to win the competition you have to be outstanding and we weren’t tonight.

“Whoever wants to win it, they must beat Real, Man City, Napoli, who beat us and a really good team and Bayern Munich. But Real Madrid are a really strong team with their history and they can do it.”

Leave a Comment