Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not in the least surprised their quest to secure a Premier League top-four spot seems likely to come down to the final day – but he remains confident they will succeed.
Defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, following damaging draws against Stoke and West Brom, has taken the race for Champions League football next season into the last week of the season.
Unless Klopp’s best friend David Wagner and his Huddersfield side can pull off a surprise win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Liverpool go into Sunday’s home game against Brighton knowing they must at least match Chelsea’s result against Newcastle, managed by former Reds boss Rafael Benitez.
"I'm really happy that this very intense period is over now because we have one week to prepare for Brighton."— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 8, 2018
JÃ¼rgen Klopp is hopeful #LFC will feel the benefits of a week's worth of match preparation 👉 https://t.co/X5v9VVcp9a pic.twitter.com/wmmtlvhSEC
Should they fail, their very last chance of playing Champions League football next season would require them to beat Real Madrid in this month’s final in Kiev.
“It’s my life, it’s our life, that we always make it a little bit more exciting,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.
“We had these situations a few times and it will be, for sure, exciting because Brighton is in a good moment, they played fantastic against (Manchester) United.
“But it’s all OK, as long as we have it in our own hands, life is good. We still have to take it then but we will try everything.”
After five matches – including an emotionally-draining two-legged Champions League final – in 17 days Klopp at least has a full week to prepare for such a crucial fixture.
“I’m really happy that this very intense period is over now because we have one week to prepare for Brighton – that feels like a year and we will use that,” he added.
“Hopefully they all came through the game (against Chelsea) then one week is fantastic.
“If one or two had little problems then one week is short as well but so far I didn’t hear anything and I hope it stays like this.”