Klopp warns Liverpool ‘not to celebrate’ too early in Champions League race
Jürgen Klopp believes fate may be on Liverpool’s side in the race for Champions League qualification but has warned his team can not “celebrate the day before the night” with two games left to decide their season.
The Liverpool manager admits he felt a top-four finish was meant to be following the dramatic late winner on Sunday at West Brom by Alisson, who is set to be offered a new contract by the club this summer. Liverpool also intend to extend Fabinho’s deal in the close season.
But with victory required at Burnley on Wednesday and against Crystal Palace on the final day to put them in the box seat for Champions League football next season, Klopp insists Liverpool must capitalise on the momentum that is now with them.
“Don’t we all believe in fate until we realise that this time it is not meant to be?” he asked. “There’s no reason for me to guard against anything. It [Alisson’s goal] was a very positive moment and in this moment it looked like it was meant to be, but if we finish the season now we are fifth so that doesn’t make too much sense.
“There is still a job to do. If it is fate or not we will see after the end of the season.” Klopp’s team hauled themselves into Champions League contention with an eight-game unbeaten run in the Premier League featuring six wins. Klopp believes form and stability has arrived at the right time, but any self-congratulation would be premature.
The Liverpool manager explained: “This season was a proper teacher in how to deal with setbacks and we learned, so missing chances in the last few games did not have the same impact that it had before. That is the main difference. We had to fight for everything and nothing is guaranteed. We could still be completely without European football.
“That’s how close it is. The two games we drew we drew in the last second. Aston Villa we won in the last second, West Brom we won in the last second. It is a quite intense period of the season for us and it feels good in the moment.
“Maybe we deserve it with the injuries we had and all the things we went through this year. We really had some lessons this year and one of the lessons I learned very early in my life is don’t celebrate the day before the night. Nothing happened yet. We only qualified for the semis. Burnley is a semi-final and if we win it we have a final. If not, then probably not.”