Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted that they must not let their Europa League campaign distract them from finishing strongly in the Premier League.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Merseyside derby with Everton, Klopp said that the Reds can still finish as high as fifth in the table.
“Nobody in our dressing room is thinking about the Europa League,” he is quoted by BBC Sport as saying. “We could be fifth. We are a big club with big targets. We need to win big games.”
Liverpool, who have won five of their last seven league matches, are currently eighth in the table, five points adrift of fifth-place Manchester United with a game in hand.
Arguably the biggest of Liverpool’s six remaining matches is the visit of Everton to Anfield on Wednesday, which will be Klopp’s first taste of the famous fixture.
He added, according to BBC Sport: “It will be intensive. I know about Everton, nearly everything. It’s a big club, a very successful club in the past. I’m not going to say ‘kick them out of the stadium’. It’s about football but to handle the emotions and the pressure is a big challenge.”
Liverpool also host relegation-threatened Newcastle United this week, so could put themselves in a strong position to finish fifth before their Europa League trip to Villarreal.
The first leg of the semi-final takes place in Spain next Thursday, with the reverse fixture at Anfield a week later. By then, the Europa League might have become a distraction.
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