Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool would find it harder to attract players this summer if they were to miss out on Champions League qualification.
The Reds, European champions in 2019 and Premier League winners last season, know they face a battle to secure a top-four finish this time around.
Heading into Thursday’s crunch clash with Chelsea at Anfield, Liverpool sit sixth in the table, and a defeat against Thomas Tuchel’s side would leave them four points adrift of the Champions League spots.
A win, however, would take them above West Ham and into the final qualification place.
What’s been said?
Klopp told reporters on Friday: “The main reason for qualifying for the Champions League is always financial. It is a great competition to play in but for the club it’s about [finances].
“Sure, you want to excite some players. In the beginning we were sitting with some players who had offers from clubs who played in the Champions League and it was like ‘ok, sorry, we can only offer nothing or Europa League!’
“But apart from that it’s always about finances. This year there is no difference, I would say. I hope people still see we do our absolute best and try everything to make it happen, but we will see how it will end up.
“It is not that the owners called me and said ‘if you don’t qualify for the Champions League then this or that will happen’, because we are all together. We all understand the situation. They know we try absolutely everything to qualify for the Champions League again, that’s clear.”
What will Liverpool look to do this summer?
There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s transfer plans, with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic still being felt across the football world.
The Reds’ reluctance to spend big was seen in January, when they opted not to pursue a top-level centre-back, instead securing the signing of Ben Davies for a modest fee from Preston while loaning Ozan Kabak from Schalke.
Whether that loan is made permanent or not in the summer remains to be seen. Liverpool would have to pay around £15 million (€18m) to do so, and they will almost certainly need to bring in a centre-back in order to avoid a repeat of this season.
A new midfielder will also be required if, as expected, Gini Wijnaldum departs on a free transfer. Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Monchengladbach has been linked strongly, while there is interest in Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and the brilliant Lyon playmaker Hossam Aouar, among others.
Exits are expected, with Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo and Marko Grujic all available, and it would be a surprise if the club did not seek to bring in at least one new attacker, given the age profile of their front three and the struggles of Roberto Firmino, in particular, this season.