Jürgen Klopp acknowledges Liverpool's result against Middlesbrough will come to define Reds' season

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp is aware of the importance of Sunday's Premier League final day clash with Middlesbrough with Champions League qualification on offer for the Reds if they win.

Jürgen Klopp acknowledges Liverpool's result against Middlesbrough will come to define Reds' season
(Picture: Getty Images - John Powell)

Jürgen Klopp is aware Liverpool's season will be judged off of the result of Sunday's final day clash with Middlesbrough and insists they don't deserve Champions League football if they don't win.

The Reds can secure a top-four finish and a return to the competition for just the second time in the last eight seasons if they simply beat Boro at Anfield

But a draw or a loss means they would be reliant on rivals Everton not losing away at Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League, having long been in a strong position to ensure qualification themselves.

The Liverpool manager admitted that it would be "difficult" to reflect on the season positively if they don't finish in the top-four "from the position we are in."

But he insists he cannot change his decisions even if Liverpool miss out, adding: "Probably a few will think it's not enough. Me? I have no idea how I would feel. Some people will count the points that we lost in the last two or three weeks and think if we had them it would already be decided. We don't think of it like that."

Klopp noted that Sunday's clash with Boro is "a big opportunity" and declared that his side "have to perform" and "have to win", admitting: "If we have enough points after the game then we deserve to go to the Champions League. If we don't have enough, we don't deserve it."

Klopp unconcerned by Reds' recent home results

Last weekend's 4-0 thrashing of West Ham United added fresh momentum and belief following a home draw against Southampton.

That followed an away win over Watford in the aftermath of a home defeat to Crystal Palace, with Liverpool's tendency to cough up their commanding positions having meant their fate will not be decided until the final day.

Yet Klopp believes Liverpool aren't enduring a particularly patchy run of form despite some of their recent results, having not won at Anfield since April 1st.

He insisted that though they "didn't score" they "played better than against West Ham" in "some parts" of their 2-1 reverse to Palace, stating that they simply "scored at the right moments" which meant "the game opened up" against the Hammers.

"We defended two situations [against Palace] worse than against West Ham," the German continued, though insisting that being home or away was not a contributing factor because they "pretty much play the same style wherever we play."

Klopp added that Liverpool "would have won against Bournemouth" if they made "one mistake less" and would have won against Palace and Southampton if they made less mistakes.

He said: "If we have a real problem creating chances then we have to think about it, but we just have to make better decisions and be more clinical at home."

The Reds boss insisted that "pretty much everybody would be happy" with a 1-0 win against Steve Agnew's Boro even though "that would mean the game would be open right until the final whistle."

But Klopp said that Liverpool "need to be ready" because they have "a big chance to win it" even though they are "not guaranteed" to beat the North East side, whose relegation to the Championship was confirmed last month.

"It is important a powerful club like this is at the top"

Liverpool have languished outside of the Champions League for all but one of the seasons since Rafael Benitez's departure from the club in 2010 and Klopp has his sights set on restoring their European pedigree after reaching the Europa League final in his first full season.

He noted that critics of Arsenal have said 'it's only the Champions League' although the Gunners have qualified for 19 successive years and said: "We would love to be there 19 years in a row from now on. We have the situation for it. It should not sound disrespectful to the past [Liverpool teams and managers] but I really think we are kind of back on track."

Klopp insisted that it is "important" that a club with Liverpool's "power" is "at the top" but said there are "so many top teams" in England that it is easy to "do a lot of things right" and even then be "out" of the top-four.

"We have power but a lot of other clubs have power too, financially or whatever. It's all about making the right decisions. We feel able to make the right decisions," Klopp explained.

He warned that it doesn't mean the club have a "100 per-cent guarantee" but that they "really feel comfortable" with "the things we can do", adding: "Decisions will be made about transfers in the next few weeks. We will be stronger next year, that's good news. Unfortunately, the other teams will be too. That doesn't make life easier."


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