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Antonio Conte hopes to keep Champions League qualification bid alive

The Blues are playing catch up in their bid to qualify for the Champions League.

Antonio Conte will be hoping Chelsea can seize their moment on Sunday after watching Liverpool strike it lucky in the Champions League this season.

Conte won the Premier League last term, in his first season as Chelsea head coach, and needs a win against Champions League finalists Liverpool on Sunday to keep the Blues’ bid of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition next season alive.

“In the Champions League, when you reach the last 16 or quarter-finals or semi-finals, one situation – positive or negative – can change your future in this competition,” Conte said.

Luck is always important in every competition Antonio Conte

“In the league, over 38 games, usually the team who deserves to win it wins it.

“Luck is always important in every competition, but when you have the possibility to play 38 games you can show you are the best.

“To win the Champions League you must be more lucky. The moment is important, the moment you arrive to play each game. The physical condition, the draw.

“But Liverpool deserve to play in this final. They eliminated Manchester City and deserve to play the final.”

With three games to play, Manchester City already champions and Manchester United certain of a top-four place, Chelsea are chasing.

The Blues are fifth, six points behind Liverpool, with matches to come against Liverpool, Huddersfield and Newcastle.

The Reds could be the most likely to slip up with their focus turned to Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 after Wednesday’s semi-final success over Roma.

“I don’t know if this is the right moment to play against them,” Conte said.

“When you play against Liverpool your expectation is to have a tough game. You must be ready to fight, prepared to play against them.

“It’s very important to play a good game, to keep alive hope to take a place in the Champions League. We’re ready to play against them.”

Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso is available again following suspension.

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