Klopp calls for focus as Liverpool bid to seal top-four spot


Klopp calls for focus as Liverpool bid to seal top-four spot
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) and Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk react at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Liverpool and Manchester City, at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on April 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony Devlin

In Summary

  • Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool to forget about the Champions League final as they aim to qualify for next season's tournament by holding off Chelsea on the final day of the Premier League campaign.
  • Klopp's fourth-placed side sit two points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and, given their vastly superior goal difference, they should seal a top-four finish if they avoid defeat against Brighton on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool to forget about the Champions League final as they aim to qualify for next season’s tournament by holding off Chelsea on the final day of the Premier League campaign.

Klopp’s fourth-placed side sit two points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and, given their vastly superior goal difference, they should seal a top-four finish if they avoid defeat against Brighton on Sunday.

A Liverpool win at Anfield would render Chelsea’s result at Newcastle irrelevant and condemn last season’s champions to play in the Europa League for the first time since 2013.

Unbeaten at home in the league this season, Liverpool are odds-on to achieve their goal. But Reds boss Klopp is aware of the dangers of complacency, especially with the Champions League final against Real Madrid serving as a potential distraction to his players.

“We need to be completely focused on this game,” Klopp said. “Yesterday a lot of people wished me luck for the Champions League final on May 26 and maybe two or three people said ‘Good luck on Sunday’.

“The boys face so many challenges and we need to show it again. A lot of things can happen in football.

“It’s exciting. We will try everything to make sure that next year we play in the Champions League again.”

Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren react following the UEFA Champions League second leg quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Liverpool, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on April 10, 2018. Liverpol won the match 2-1. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against Huddersfield on Wednesday was a hammer blow to their top-four hopes and Blues boss Antonio Conte admits the odds are stacked against them.

“The situation, especially for a place in the Champions League, is not in our hands. But we have to try to get three points against Newcastle, then to drop something positive for us,” Conte said.

Chelsea have an FA Cup final date with Manchester United on May 19 but this could be Conte’s last league game with the Blues after two stormy seasons marred by his feud with the club over their failure to back his transfer plans.

Refusing to take the blame for Chelsea’s woes, Conte said: “We’re struggling to take a place in the Champions League. But we play in a very tough where there are six top teams fighting for a place .
“It’s not automatic that you finish every season in the top four.”

Third-bottom Swansea look certain to relegated when they face Stoke at the Liberty  Stadium.Carlos Carvalhal’s side are three points behind fourth-bottom Southampton, who secured a crucial win over the Welsh club in midweek and have a significantly better goal difference than their relegation rivals.

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