London – Jurgen Klopp has challenged Liverpool to salvage their troubled Premier League season with a late bid to finish in the top four.
Klopp’s side are languishing in seventh place and sit five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Reds’ win over Wolves before the international break was only their fourth Premier League victory since Christmas during a spell in which they lost eight times.
With just nine games remaining — starting with Saturday’s trip to Arsenal — Liverpool boss Klopp knows his team have no margin for error.
“We don’t have a lot of points to waste any more but we have a tough programme on top of that, not only in the Premier League but the Champions League as well,” Klopp said today.
“We will not hesitate, we will just go for it and hopefully we can do that on Saturday.
“It is always a challenge for teams after the international break, with players coming back from their countries having played different systems and different match plans.
“We have one session to bring it all together again and that’s a challenge but we are used to it.
“We know whatever we want for the rest of the season we can only get it if we win football games, and the first one is at Arsenal.”
Klopp has Roberto Firmino back from a knee problem but the form of Diogo Jota, who scored the winner at Wolves and found the net three times in two World Cup qualifiers for Portugal, may keep him out of the side.
“Diogo is in a good moment, he was before he left and showed that again in the international break,” Klopp said.
“Yes, these are the rare benefits of an international break from a club point of view but it is good.”
During the international break England boss Gareth Southgate had cast doubt on Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson’s availability for Euro 2020 after his groin surgery in February.
Netherlands coach Frank de Boer has left the door open for Reds defender Virgil van Dijk, out since October with ACL damage, despite being ruled out of the rest of the club season by Klopp.
“I have no idea about the Euros, to be honest. Nothing changed, they are all in the place they should be at the moment. That’s it. The rest, the time will show,” Klopp said.
“I don’t want to take a player away from Holland or England. If they are ready they are ready, and if they are not ready I cannot change that.
“At the moment they are in the rehab process, so it’s not about me to make the decision.” — AFP