Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that the fact that his club are not involved in European football this season does not give them an advantage in the English Premier League.
Three of the current top five in the Premier League will be involved in mid-week European action. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Arsenal face Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona and Ludogorets respectively. Chelsea and Liverpool, on the other hand, will be training for the next round of league fixtures after failing to secure European football last season.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was questioned about a possible advantage for his side domestically given the absence of European football. The German manager was not convinced, however, pointing out that the winners of the league are involved in European football more often than not.
“Everyone talks about this [not playing in Europe] but I think 80 to 90 per cent of the time in Europe, the teams becoming champions are in the Champions League,” he said, according to Goal.
“That’s how it is. Why? Because they have quality, they can rotate, they can rest whenever. It’s not too cool when you are not successful.
“Sometimes it’s an advantage, but in the end, why does a team win the league with all these intense games in midweek? Maybe they find an answer.”
The Reds reached the League Cup and Europa League finals last season. However, losses to Manchester City and Sevilla meant that they still ended their campaign without silverware. This season, however, they are showing signs that they could rectify that.
Liverpool are coming off a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace during the weekend, and currently sit third on the Premier League table. They are below Arsenal and Man City only on goal difference, and have already defeated two of their top five competitors in Arsenal and Chelsea.
Klopp has implemented his high energy gegenpressing style at Anfield, and it seems to be paying rich dividends. Liverpool are looking like the side to beat this season, and all eyes have been on them since the 4-3 thrashing of Arsenal away in their first league game of the season.
Considering his style of play, the absence of European football will be an advantage to Klopp. Despite his beliefs to the contrary, some of the Reds’ key players will surely translate the lack of work load into an increase in work rate during the games.
The kind of advantage that the lack of European football can provide was evident last season, as minnows Leicester City were largely able to play the same team every week in their remarkable march to the Premier League title