Having fallen 9 points adrift of 4th place, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that the Europa League is the best chance his club have of finding their way back into the UEFA Champions League next season.
Liverpool have qualified just once since 2009-10 for the UEFA Champions League, and with their inconsistency this season in the Premier League, it is very likely that the wait for the Reds to play among Europe’s elite will continue.
Klopp targets Europa League crown for Champions League entry
Liverpool take on Augsburg in their UEFA Europa League first knock-out round tie on Thursday. Manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that the uphill battle the Reds face in order to get into the UEFA Champions League means there has never been a bigger incentive for his side to win the competition.
He was quoted as saying by Thisisanfield.com: “We are in the last 32. We can see the line but I cannot say now, ‘This is our only chance of being in the Champions League’. It’s a chance.
“How many points in the league are we away from the Champions League? I think it is nine. So, yeah, at this moment I would say we have a better chance this way at the moment.
“Maybe the top four clubs will have a crisis but we have to solve our own problems.
“We have to be at the highest motivation for the game without thinking about the last moment and knowing the possibility.”
Can Liverpool win the Europa League?
Klopp went on to add that Liverpool are one of the outfits in the competition that can realistically say they have a chance to win it. Given the quality at his disposal, the German is not far wrong.
However, he must ensure that, for once, his key players do remain fit as the season comes to its climax. Liverpool will have stiff competition though, in the form of domestic rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp described the competition as a “mini-Champions League” on the basis of the teams present in it this year.
Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal, Valencia, Dortmund, FC Porto, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Marseille are just some other names who would be looking to dash Klopp’s hopes of winning the Europa League.