Jurgen Klopp firmly dismisses pessimism around the Europa League next season, saying Liverpool are “all in” to try and win it.
Jurgen Klopp has rejected pessimism around participation in the Europa League next season, saying Liverpool will be going “all in” to win it.
And the Reds boss insists he is excited by what is to come at Anfield next term as he strongly dismissed those who are seeking to demean their qualification for Europe’s secondary competition.
Liverpool’s Europa League fate was officially sealed on Thursday night when Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-1 at Old Trafford. The three points for the Red Devils meant they cannot be caught on the final day this Sunday when they entertain Fulham and Klopp’s team are hosted by an already-relegated Southampton.
It will be the Reds’ first season in the Europa League since they were beaten finalists in 2016 and while qualification to the prestigious and lucrative Champions League represents a significant and undoubted blow, Klopp is in no mood to play down the tournament’s importance next season as the Reds look to bounce back from a difficult year.
“Is it a booby prize? Not for me,” Klopp said. “I understand where you are coming from, listen football is like that, on the level we usually perform it is about Champions League because of the money, because of the opponents and all this.
“And it is not that I have followed in the last four years group stage games of the Europa League a lot because when you are in the Champions League you have a lot of other things to do but I love European competitions. And for me that’s no difference.
“I know when you play there’s no difference. There will be difficult opponents, different countries probably and in the end a massive prize to win, a massive prize to win. It is not that I say now we will do that but we will definitely try it.
“I am 100% sure people now may think: ‘Ah, it’s just the Europa League’ but I am 100% sure that come the first whistle, whoever is the opponent, Thursday night, Anfield will be rocking. And that is all I need. That is all I need.
“And if somebody wants to go through the whole year and think: ‘Yes but it’s not Champions League’ then I cannot help that person. Sorry. I don’t know how you can help them.
“This year I want nothing more than to go on holiday because this year was long, there were moments in the season when I thought it was five seasons, that’s true as well, but that is long ago.
“But we found our way back to use our skills again in the right way, now it is interrupted by a summer break and by a few international games and stuff like this, and then we come together again and that must be a full throttle start and then whatever that leads to. It is not that in the first game we have to win the league, that is not possible. We just show we are back and that is what I want to show.”