Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the club will take their possible failure to qualify for the Champions League on the chin – but has named three players the club will hope to see better from next season.
Klopp’s men fell off the Premier League pace at the start of 2021 when injuries started to hit the champions’ performances on the pitch. Indeed, their season hit a new nadir after five successive home defeats. That run not only saw them surrender the title, it also means they face a real struggle to qualify for the top four.
With just five games left, Liverpool are seventh and trail fourth-place Chelsea by seven points.
Klopp admits the task is a difficult, although not impossible, one. He also insists that the prospect of Europa League football next season would not see the 2019 European champions sulking.
“We are not kids in a candy shop who are not getting the candies,” Klopp said.
“We are responsible for the situation we are in. Nobody will watch next season’s Champions League and lie in front of the television and cry if we are not involved.
“If somebody would struggle with that hopefully I would realise and I could solve that situation early. I am pretty sure I would recognise it early.
“We still have a chance for the Champions League and we have to be concentrated on that.
“Some people obviously think we don’t have a chance any more so we should already write the season off.”
Klopp, however, believes injuries have seen Liverpool suffer more than most this season. Indeed, their defensive woes saw Klopp claim it felt like “they had broken their leg”.
Klopp picks out struggling Liverpool trio
As well as the injuries, the 2020/21 season has also seen a number of top stars fail to find their best form.
But now he has also admitted that three of his midfield stars have also struggled to find their best this season. Indeed, he admits he had hoped to see more from Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“The summer is important for all of us and you can say exactly the same about each player,” added Klopp.
“When you don’t start games you have to use each training session and each minute on the pitch to convince.
“I don’t have to be convinced to be honest but it’s about showing up in these kind of situations.
“Ox had really good moments, trains really good at the moment, and his situation is not easy, not only for him but all the boys in that situation.
“Thiago became, in a really difficult season, a very important player for us.
“I don’t think we saw it already but we are 100 per cent convinced we will get the best out of him because he is a world class player.
“For Naby it’s not easy, for Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) it’s not easy. For some other players it is not easy, I know that. But a lot of things happened during the season and what we tried to get and keep was balance and rhythm.
“With always having a different defence, a few things in midfield needed to be different to other times. When we were much more settled and stable. That is the reason why some players don’t have enough minutes.
“That will hopefully change next year completely. When you have more stability in the last line then you can be more flexible formation-wise further up the pitch.”