Jurgen Klopp is adamant the absence of Champions League football at Liverpool next season would not lead to a mass exodus of their top stars.
After spending eight of 10 seasons in the Champions League from the 2001-02 season, they spent six campaigns from 2010-11 either in the Europa League or out of Europe completely.
A history-making run of five successive Anfield losses have left the Reds with a big fight on their hands to claim a top-four finish. Ahead of the weekend fixtures, the champions lie seventh in the table.
It seems an incredible fall from grace for a side, who in 2019, also won the Champions League for a sixth time in 2019.
The loss of Champions League football would mean the club take a significant financial hit on top of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It could also affect the composition of the squad both in the transfer window and in terms of players who may want to leave.
Klopp, however, has firmly dismissed that prospect. Having sent a message to Mohamed Salah’s agent on Friday, he has also struck a hard line in terms of players for whom the Champions League was a priority.
“I know we have loyalty from the players. It is not a situation where a player in the squad says, ‘We are not in the Champions League so I have to leave’. That will not happen. I know them well enough to know that,” Klopp stated.
“The club is in a different situation and it will not be an issue with new players I can say that.
“We said it years back if a player does not want to come to us because we don’t play Champions League next season then I don’t want him.
“And if a player wants to leave because we don’t play Champions League then I don’t want him. It is not a personal thing, but it is always like this.
“You always need to find the right squad for the challenges you face. Then you go for it. It is nothing I worry about.”
Klopp confident any absence would be short term
Klopp is also confident the “power of the club” means they will never be without Champions League football for long.
While the Reds boss is not considering the prospect of failing to qualify for Europe’s elite competition this term, he insists Liverpool will not return to the wilderness years of the early part of the last decade.
Liverpool do, however, hold a 2-0 lead heading into their last-16 second leg tie against RB Leipzig next week.
Klopp sought to calm fears missing out this season would be the precursor to another long absence.
“This club will not be a regular out of the Champions League – this year is difficult we know that, but the potential and the power of the club is a completely different one,” he said.
“I do not know the team 10 years ago but we are ready for a battle in this era, and with the team we have together.
“Seasons have momentum and we never really got it this year, that is true, but this club is in a really good position.
“In a difficult time obviously, but in a better position than other clubs I would say.
“I obviously did not think about what happened in the past but what I can say nobody has to worry about the future of the club because it is in good hands and has a really good team together, and so that is obviously the basis for a good future.”