London – Juergen Klopp insists the solid foundations he has laid at Liverpool will ensure his troubled club are never faced with a long absence from the Champions League.
Klopp is fighting to salvage a dismal season by lifting Liverpool into the Premier League’s top four to guarantee qualification for next season’s Champions League.
They are currently four points behind fourth placed Chelsea after five successive home defeats.
If Liverpool cannot finish in the top four, the soon-to-be dethroned English champions will have to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition by winning the Champions League this term.
They hold a 2-0 first leg lead against Leipzig in the last 16.
But regardless of Liverpool’s fate this season, Klopp is convinced the six-time Champions League winners won’t go back to the wilderness years when they spent six campaigns from 2010-11 either in the Europa League or out of Europe completely.
“This club will not be a regular out of the Champions League ― this year is difficult we know that, but the potential and the power of the club is a completely different one,” Klopp said.
“I do not know the team 10 years ago but we are ready for a battle in this era, and with the team we have together.
“Seasons have momentum and we never really got it this year, that is true, but this club is in a really good position.
“In a difficult time obviously, but in a better position than other clubs I would say.
“I obviously did not think about what happened in the past but what I can say nobody has to worry about the future of the club because it is in good hands and has a really good team together, and so that is obviously the basis for a good future.”
The loss of Champions League football would mean Liverpool take a significant financial hit on top of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It could also affect the composition of the squad in the summer transfer window.
But Klopp struck a hard line when asked if players for whom the Champions League was a priority might consider leaving.
“I know we have loyalty from the players. It is not a situation where a player in the squad says, ‘We are not in the Champions League so I have to leave’. That will not happen. I know them well enough to know that,” he said.
“The club is in a different situation and it will not be an issue with new players I can say that.
“We said it years back if a player does not want to come to us because we don’t play Champions League next season then I don’t want him.
“And if a player wants to leave because we don’t play Champions League then I don’t want him. It is not a personal thing, but it is always like this.” ― AFP