Klopp admits Liverpool could miss out on Champions League return

The Reds are pushing hard for a top-four finish, but the battle towards the business end of the Premier League table is still wide open

Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool’s sights locked on a top-four finish in the Premier League, but concedes that fierce competition for places could leave them disappointed.

The Reds have been without continental football this season after finishing eighth in 2015-16 and suffering defeat in the Europa League final.

A lack of midweek action outside of domestic duties was expected to aid the Anfield cause this season, and did work in their favour over the first half of the season.

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An untimely wobble at the start of 2017 has threatened to undo much of the Reds’ hard work, but they remain in contention to book a return ticket to the Champions League party.

Klopp is aware of the importance placed on such a standing for a club of Liverpool’s stature, but acknowledges that nothing can be taken for granted in a fierce scramble for places.

“Of course it is in our hands. In this moment I think we should only think about how we can do it,” said the German tactician.

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“Would it be a disappointment if we don’t reach it? Yes because we think we should qualify for it.

“Is it possible that we don’t qualify? Yes because of the league, because of the opponents and all that stuff. It would be because of us and we have to take that situation like it is. It is our big target of course. We want to do everything to get it.

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“The top six or seven teams can’t be sure that they will be in the top four. Last week they were already in, then they are already out. There are a lot of games to play.

“For nobody it is already decided. As long as we have the opportunity I think we should try everything. It is wonderful to play there and it would be important for the club.”

Liverpool currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, two points clear of Arsenal and three ahead of arch-rivals Manchester United – although both of those directly below them boast a game in hand.