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Liverpool play Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in consecutive matches at the start of April, making up a week that Jurgen Klopp acknowledges could be “pretty decisive” in the Reds’ season.
After being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid on Wednesday, Liverpool’s only remaining aim is securing a return to Europe’s elite club competition for next season.
That is no guarantee in a difficult campaign, sitting sixth, six points behind Tottenham with a game in hand and two points behind Newcastle United having played a game more.
Consistency has deserted Klopp’s side, as shown by their 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth six days on from a 7-0 victory over Manchester United.
But Klopp is determined to achieve a top-four finish and knows just how vital the next stretch of fixtures could prove.
“Of course, it is ‘the’ competition and we want to be part of it every year,” the manager said. “That’s a massive task for us, we all know that.
“When we come back from the international break, we have a proper football week ahead of us, I would say, with three games: City, Chelsea and Arsenal, which will then probably define what we get out of it.
“People might say we lost it in Bournemouth, but I think this week is a pretty decisive one, so we have to hope now the boys come back healthy, early enough, in the right shape and then we will try it.”
4 – Liverpool’s 6-2 aggregate loss to Real Madrid is their heaviest margin of defeat over two legs of a UEFA Champions League knockout tie. Dispatched. pic.twitter.com/mqfLcL1Pa9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 15, 2023
Klopp was speaking after the 1-0 loss to Madrid, which was followed by the LaLiga giants playing Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone in the stadium.
“It is a really nice gesture,” Klopp said. “We are two heavyweights who meet each other quite frequently in international football.
“I think it is clear we respect each other a lot, and whoever did it, whoever was doing something like that, [made] a really nice gesture, I have to say.
“I was not angry after the game, but I was disappointed. I would be angry if we would have played better and it was close and then they win because of a penalty which was not a penalty or stuff like this.
“But in the end that all didn’t happen. Real Madrid were just the better side and I am long enough in the business to respect that.”