Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims he would rather be in their position chasing European glory than be sitting pretty as domestic champions like Manchester City.
The Reds are aiming to be crowned European champions for the sixth time when they take on Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 after overcoming Roma in midweek.
City are the runaway Premier League champions with 93 points and three games left, 21 ahead of Liverpool, who still need to avoid defeat at Chelsea tomorrow to confirm their top-four place for next season.
But Klopp is convinced the excitement of trying to win the biggest prize in world club football puts them in a better place than City, who they beat in the quarter-final.
“There are not a lot of teams in world football where their season is already done,” said Klopp.
“For example, City are champions and still play football chasing records, but they have these long weeks now with training, recovery, and always being fresh.
“But I wouldn’t change it at the moment to be honest as we’re going to Kiev.
“Life in the Premier League doesn’t always feel like a holiday.”
Liverpool are seeking to make it back-to-back top-four finishes for the first time since 2009. Klopp reckons achieving that would put the Kop in the best place for a decade, especially as they are without the injured Joel Matip, Emre Can, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Lallana, and Joe Gomez.
“It would be massive. If we do it, it would show everything, but it’s still an ‘if’. I don’t like the word ‘would’ too much,” he added.
“Let’s talk about it when it happens. We have to play games to make that happen.
“It was actually the main target we had at the start of the season.
“With the group we’ve got, with how we came to the final and playing with the biggest intensity in all parts, being ready again, then the injuries we had, it would a massive success.
“It’s exactly what we want. You cannot plan for a Champions League final obviously.
“Nobody thought about that at the start of the season. Of course we wanted to go as far as possible but my main main target was the top four.
“We’ve worked hard for that and now we want to bring it over the line.”
Liverpool expect to have midfielder Can available next week.
He should receive the green light to resume full training on Monday after injuring a bone in his back against Watford on March 17.
“I think he will have a scan on Monday and then we will know more,” said Klopp.
“He’s done a lot of things and it feels really good but you always need a doctor to tell you: ‘Now it’s fine, now you can go again.’ That would be good news for us.”
Klopp believes Liverpool deserve huge credit for maintaining their European push after losing five key players. Matip and Oxlade-Chamberlain won’t play again this season because of respective thigh and knee injuries, while Can is battling to play possibly his final games for the club as he is out of contract. Lallana’s hamstring withstood a training session in Rome after the Champions League semi-final and Gomez is still being assessed with a mystery problem.
“That’s why I say that what the boys have done has been outstanding,” added Klopp, whose side close their Premier League season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion a week on Sunday.
“But we don’t talk a lot about it. We don’t go around saying ‘thank you very much’.
“It’s the job to do. If we could do it (top four) it would show big progress.
“We will be fully concentrated on the two Premier League games and then the good news is that we will have two weeks until the final.
“We will use them (other players) for sure to do the right things. We will be ready for that. For the final nine days of the Premier League season, we will be fully focused on that.
“As long as we could rotate, we rotated. Everything was fine, we were fresh and then a few things happened that we couldn’t influence. It had nothing to do with the intensity of our game.
“If there was I would have been the first to change everything if that had been the reason.
“Joel Matip, our most rotated centre-half, had such a serious thing it was crazy.
“The same with Emre in that moment. Adam Lallana was a different story. It didn’t help us.
“Then we lost Ox in probably the worst moment. He was fit like never before and then something like that happened.”
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