Jurgen Klopp admits it will be a ‘big challenge’ for Liverpool to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season following a disappointing title defence.
Liverpool were top of the division in December but have dropped to sixth following an alarming run of results, losing their past four Premier League fixtures and each of their last four at Anfield after seeing a 68-game unbeaten home run ended by Burnley last month.
Injuries have decimated the Reds’ squad with each of the club’s three senior centre-backs that started the season ruled out for lengthy periods, with club captain Jordan Henderson – who has deputised in defence this season – joining a growing injury list after undergoing groin surgery.
Liverpool currently sit five points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham in the race to secure Champions League qualification and, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Sheffield United, Klopp admits his side face a ‘big challenge’ to finish in the top four.
“It is a big challenge of course,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference.
“You only have to look at the points. We are not too far off but it’s still a distance.
“We have to win as many games as possible and we will see at the end of the season, but it’s a challenge.”
Liverpool’s hopes could be boosted by the return from injury of Diogo Jota who has resumed first-team training this week after being ruled out since December with a knee problem, whilst Fabinho and James Milner are also set to train tomorrow and will be assessed ahead of the clash with Chris Wilder’s side at Bramall Lane.