Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that Liverpool are ‘under pressure’ to qualify for the Champions League next season as they look to save something from a difficult season.
The Reds were knocked out of this year’s competition in the quarter-finals after a goalless draw with Real Madrid at Anfield which defeated them 3-1 on aggregate.
Their outing on Wednesday put an end to any hope of silverware in this campaign and they now face a battle to finish in the Premier League top four with seven games to go.
Liverpool are in sixth place, jostling with city rivals Everton with Chelsea, Tottenham, Leicester and West Ham for the noble finish they want.
Klopp’s side embark on Monday’s clash with Leeds United after three consecutive Premier League wins – just the second time they have a string of league wins this season.
Liverpool also have a good recent record against the West Yorkshire club, with Leeds having won just one of their last 11 home games against the Reds in all competitions (draw three, lost seven).
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday ahead of the trip to Elland Road, the Liverpool manager said his side were feeling the heat.
“Yes, we are under pressure, as anyone can imagine, in the sense that we want to finish in the top four but we don’t know at the moment if we will,” said Klopp.
“But we have seven games to prove that point and that’s what we’re trying.
“There are obviously two things that are important in football: one is performance, the other is results. The last three Premier League games we have won, a Champions League game we have lost and a draw.
“The only bad game we played during this period was the Champions League game we lost, all the other games were OK or better, so that’s what we have to keep doing: playing our best football.
“And you still have to accept the result because you have to finish the situations, which we didn’t do in the second leg against Real Madrid obviously, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do it again forever.
“This is the situation, go ahead. It’s not just about having an answer or whatever, it’s just go ahead, go ahead and go ahead, play your best football. “
Liverpool won the reverse game against Leeds 4-3 on Matchday 1, and they doubled against Leeds four times in the Premier League (1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000 and 2002-03).
Klopp said: “When you think of Leeds it’s like, ‘It’s uncomfortable, you have to go do this and that and that’ – exactly the same thing Leeds have to do when they think of us: ‘Oh my God, how do we defend this?
“We can’t do more in fact, before a game. The way is clear – we have to win football games. The best way would be to win all football games, but there are tough opponents and we respect that. , we really respect that.
“We see the situation we’re in and we see it in a positive way, to be honest. We’re there, we have to win our games to put pressure on other teams and stuff like that.”
Klopp has no new injury concerns ahead of the game and has revealed positive progress in rehabilitating long-term injury victims Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson.
He added: “Joe is out of the race now and all that stuff, which obviously is still a big step after all the injuries.
“He [Gomez] looks good when running, no real knee reaction which is very important. This obviously still takes time, but it is in the right direction. Like Virgil, Joel and Jordan are. “