Reds ‘be­long’ in Cham­pi­ons League, says Klopp

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LIVER­POOL: Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp was as de­lighted as the club’s suc­cess-starved fans af­ter his side’s 3-0 win over Mid­dles­brough se­cured a top-four fin­ish and a Cham­pi­ons League play­off spot on Sun­day.

Bril­liant strikes from Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lal­lana guar­an­teed a place in next sea­son’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion play­off as Klopp’s men over­came some early nerves to show their class on the last day of the sea­son.

Liver­pool’s fourth-placed fin­ish is just the sec­ond time in eight sea­sons that they have made it into Europe’s elite com­pe­ti­tion and the ec­static re­cep­tion Klopp’s side re­ceived on the fi­nal whis­tle con­firmed how much that means to the club’s ever-faith­ful fans.

Klopp — who turns 50 next month — was beam­ing with sat­is­fac­tion after­wards and be­lieves Liver­pool are in an ideal po­si­tion to kick on from here.

“Ev­ery­thing is good at this club at the mo­ment,” said Klopp, who guided Borus­sia Dort­mund to the 2013 fi­nal where they lost to do­mes­tic ri­vals Bay­ern Mu­nich.

“It feels good. We de­serve this po­si­tion. We learned a lot this year about our­selves and we can use that. At the end of the sea­son you are usu­ally tired but I could start again to­mor­row.

“We are all look­ing for­ward to what we can do. We can qual­ify in Au­gust so we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. I’m very proud of the boys.

“There is noth­ing bet­ter, maybe in the world. For me, it’s the best com­pe­ti­tion and Liver­pool needs to be there con­sis­tently, all the time, and I love the per­spec­tive.

“I don’t want to say we are al­ready in — qual­i­fi­ca­tion is qual­i­fi­ca­tion — but we are re­ally strong, we want to fight for it and be there.” AFP

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