Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is targeting a crucial week early next month that he believes will define not only this season, but also the next.
His team’s exit from the Champions League after a 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu saw them lose 6-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid, leaving them with the option of securing a place in the top four in the Premier League to clinch European qualification. a race.
They were starting to gather momentum after taking 13 points from 15 but losing 1-0 at Bournemouth was a blow to confidence as well as a blow to their hopes of finishing ahead of Tottenham and Newcastle, their main rivals for fourth place.
With no games now scheduled until after the international break, Liverpool return with the toughest tests of their credentials in the top four, heading into Manchester City and Chelsea before hosting Premier League leaders Arsenal in a week’s time.
“With the history we have in this competition (Champions League), we usually start competing with the idea of winning it, frankly,” said Klopp.
“We’ve been to the final several times, we haven’t won the final very often, that’s true, but we’ve been there three times in the last few years and that’s why I think if you want to win the competition you have to be outstanding.
“It’s the competition and we want to be a part of it every year. This is a huge job for us, we all know that.
“When we come back from the international break, we’ve got a proper week of football ahead of us, I would say, with three games: City, Chelsea and Arsenal, which will then probably determine what we get out of it.
“People may say we lost it at Bournemouth, but I think this week is a very crucial week, so we have to hope now that the boys are back healthy, early enough, in the right form and then we’ll try for that.”
The volatile nature of their season meant that it was difficult to maintain any momentum to build any kind of platform to keep up with their rivals.
But their recent run raised Liverpool to sixth, six points behind Tottenham in fourth but with a game in hand, and two points behind Newcastle, who have played two games less.
With scores of matches remaining and nothing else to play for, Klopp knows his side cannot afford more slip-ups like the one that occurred last weekend.
“Our job is to squeeze absolutely everything out of this season that’s possible,” he added.
“It’s strange. Our last two games, obviously an exciting performance (7-0) against Manchester United, which is a really good football team, and then a really bad performance against Bournemouth, which is also a good football team, but we shouldn’t lose this.” .kind of game.
“We were then put under more pressure. If we can get three (more) points, I think everyone can really feel, or smell our breath, if you want to.
“There is distance again because other teams have won their games. (But) we obviously want to be in the top four.”
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