Belfast Telegraph

Place among Euro elite will help us lure top stars: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

 

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has money to spend in this summer's transfer market and believes Champions League football will be the "icing on the cake" for prospective targets.

However, he believes the historical "power and size" of the club has been enhanced by the success of this campaign and the vibe he has got from enquiries already made for potential signings is more positive than last year.

Nevertheless, securing a top-four finish is imperative on the final weekend of the season if that bubble is not to be burst.

"The Champions League, for different reasons, is a wonderful competition," said Klopp. "You can earn a lot of money, that's money we didn't have last year - but we are already in a good position.

"We are a club without financial problems and we have money to spend, but it makes sense to think before we spend."

A victory over Middlesbrough tomorrow will guarantee Champions League football, and that could be the final convincing factor when it comes down to a player deciding whether to join Klopp at Anfield.

"The Champions League would be the icing on the cake but that's it," he said. "It should not sound negative but if the Champions League is the only reason why a player is coming it makes no sense for him or for us because one year of not qualifying and the player decides (he) wants another Champions League club.

"It is important for players because that is what they want to play, but the progress and development and positive perspective of a club is important for players, and we are powerful in a lot of parts of the game.

"We will be successful in the future, but for this we need the players. We have very good players and we need a few more."

Fourth-placed Liverpool are a point ahead of Arsenal heading into the last game and as long as they match the Gunners' result they will play in Europe's elite competition for only the second time in the last eight years.

But should they drop to fifth, Klopp is still confident the progress made this season will be enough to persuade some of his targets it is still worth a move.

"Even from outside, Liverpool always looked a massive club," he said. "Chelsea have the money, Man City are now coming up, Man United are Man United, but we are a really interesting project.

"It is still the power and size of this club and then the perspective and that has changed, we feel it in the talks (with players). They have to see it, they have to feel it and they have to make a decision.

"We've made a decision before we go into the talks, of course, because that is always how it is because you commit 100 per cent.

"Plan A player says, 'aaah, sounds all good but..', plan B you are not sure and plan C you have to decide when A and B are not there. That is really difficult, but the players are really positive this year compared to last year because they have seen our way, our football and that is good."

Meanwhile, Klopp says he will do all he can to help Steven Gerrard replace him as boss.

The former Reds captain rejoined the club as an academy coach in February and was last month appointed manager of the Under-18 side.

Klopp recommended Gerrard and plans to continue to assist the 36-year-old, who will complete his Uefa A Licence this summer.

"It's perfect that we can involve Steven," Klopp said. "What a guy.

"He was one of the world's best footballers ever. We had him last winter when he had a break in the USA (from LA Galaxy) and he had a few sessions with us.

"I told him when I leave, or the club sack me, I don't care who'll be my successor, but I'd love if he'd be it.

"I'll do everything I can to make sure he gets the information he needs because when you join a club you have a responsibility for the future, and the future of this club needs legends like Steven Gerrard in decisive positions."

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