Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted boosting their goal difference against Burnley was never in his mind despite the statistic potentially being the deciding factor on who secures top four.
Liverpool thrust themselves back into the top four after overseeing a thoroughly professional and commanding 3-0 victory over Burnley. The Clarets had enjoyed success against the Reds earlier this season, with their 1-0 victory at Anfield ending Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten league streak at home.
There was to be no repeat in the reverse fixture, with Roberto Firmino, Nat Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensuring Liverpool enter the final week heavily favoured to secure Champions League qualification.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Klopp said: “It was a semi-final. We had to win the semi-final and we did.
“Nothing is decided yet but we improved our position and we have the final. That’s what we needed. It’s what we deserve because this was a top performance.
“You can’t give any chance away against Burnley because of the way they play. They wanted to go for our centre-halves but our boys did outstandingly well.
“We knew before the game it would be incredibly tough – they had about 3,500 people not on our side. Atmosphere in football is massive.
“I thought the boys dealt really well with that. They didn’t get distracted – they tried to use it because noise is nice. We played a lot of good football stuff.”
Regarding whether he wanted Liverpool to secure a large win to boost their goal difference – a statistic that could prove pivotal in multiple scenarios pending Sunday’s results – the German added: “No. We saw it as a semi-final.
“You can’t go to Burnley and hope to win 3-0. It’s usually incredibly tight.
“We have to make sure we recover quickly. We have a thin squad in some positions. We have to wrap them in cotton wool. I can’t wait for the 10,000 fans at Anfield. Nothing is decided – Palace are strong.”
‘Sunday is Liverpool’s final’ – Robertson
Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “Of course we feed off pressure. It’s a massive club and fans demand results.
35 – Since the start of the 2017-18 season, only Kevin De Bruyne (49) has more Premier League assists than Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson (35), who has assisted twice in a Premier League game tonight for the first time since April 2019. Creator.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 19, 2021
“We have hit form at the right time. Sunday is a final effectively for us, Leicester and Chelsea.
“We have given ourselves a chance when a lot of people had written us off. But we need to make sure our performance is of the highest level [against Crystal Palace].”