Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his side are under pressure as they fight to force their way into the top four by the end of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
Real Madrid ended the Reds’ UEFA Champions League hopes in midweek and their only qualification route to the competition next season is via finishing in the top four.
However, the Reds have been outside the top four since February when their disastrous run of six defeats in seven games began. They now sit eighth on the log but have gotten closer to the top four places with three consecutive Premier League wins in recent weeks.
‘We just go for it, go and go and go and play our best football,’ he said. ‘We are of course under pressure as we want to finish in the top four but we don’t know in the moment if we will. We have seven games to prove that and we will try.’
The Reds are on course for a fourth straight league win when they face Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United at Elland Road on Monday in what should be a tricky game.
Leeds United are coming off the back of a win against Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend where they were down 10 men but still scored the winner.
‘We should not forget the opponents we face,’ Klopp added. ‘We won the last three and that’s why we’re still around, still in the fight for the Champions League spots.
‘It’s clear we have to win football games. It would be best to win all of them, but they are tough opponents and we have to respect all of them. We have to win games and put pressure on teams. That’s all we know and we will try.’
Meanwhile, Leeds are currently 10th in the Premier League after the dramatic win at the Etihad via a Stuart Dallas stoppage-time strike. Klopp went on to describe Marcelo Bielsa’s side as the most different team in the league based on the challenges they pose.
He added: ‘This Leeds team is really special. They are not the most experienced team in the world but they have a very experienced manager. Most of the players are playing the Premier League for the first time so they have to go through a process.
‘Against City they could have scored seven, eight, nine (after going down to 10), on another day City score that, but they defended it really well. It was exceptional but Leeds are a really good side managed by one of the best and that obviously helps.’
Liverpool have suffered defensive lapses this term but the growing partnership between Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips, who have emerged victoriously in the four Premier League games they’ve played has been a major plus.
‘Using the information you have just given me I’d better start them in the next game as well,’ Klopp said when asked about their record.
‘These things have to develop. There was never a question about their quality, but you have to bring it together.’
The duo will be tasked with stopping Patrick Bamford who has impressed the German tactician with his contributions to the newly-promoted side this season.
He currently has 14 goals in 31 Premier League games and also found the back of the net at Anfield when both sides first met this season.
‘He is a top player,’ Klopp said. ‘I remember before the season I heard people say that Leeds need a proper goalscorer and that Bamford was not good enough so I am happy he could prove them all wrong.
‘He’s an exceptional player. The work-rate is outstanding and he is playing the football he plays on top and scoring goals. That’s rare. They have a lot of interesting players but Bamford, I’m really happy for him.’