Jurgen Klopp admits it will be ‘almost impossible’ for Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League, insisting his side are no guarantees to secure any European football for next season.
Liverpool have endured a disappointing domestic campaign following their long-awaited title success last season, with the Premier League champions currently sixth in the division and facing an uphill battle to secure a top-four finish.
Injuries and poor performances have contributed to a huge downturn in results after last season’s record-breaking achievements, the Reds crowned as champions with seven games to spare to win a first league title in three decades.
Hopes of defending the title have been decimated by a run of concerning results, including losing six consecutive home games in the Premier League, an unprecedented run of losses which followed an unbeaten sequence of 68 games at Anfield.
That torrid form has left Liverpool five points adrift of the Champions League places with nine games of the season remaining and, given the wealth of competition for a top-four position, Klopp believes it will be ‘almost impossible’ for his side to secure a place amongst Europe’s elite next season.
“I like to be an optimist, but in the league it is almost impossible to qualify in the competition for the Champions League places that we have,” Klopp told German newspaper Bild.
“At Tottenham, Gareth Bale is now playing again, and they are also in the running. Plus City and United, who are far away.
“Chelsea is on the rise. Reaching Champions League qualification through the league will be difficult, we know that.
“You don’t usually win the Champions League itself in a year with injury worries as big as we have.
“Then in the worst case it will be next year: no Champions League, maybe Europa League, although that is not guaranteed either.”
Klopp has opened up on his side’s struggles this season and says the Reds have been hindered by a series of ‘big mistakes’ and wastefulness around goal, describing the club’s defending as ‘slapstick’ on occasion.
“The opponent usually doesn’t need a lot of chances against us because we make big mistakes, insane ones that can almost be described as slapstick,” Klopp said.
“On the other hand, we create a lot of chances, in the ‘expected goals’ we are still second behind Manchester City in the Premier League, but far from them in the ones we actually scored. This problem has been going on throughout the season.”