Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool know how to wrap up top-four spot: Lovren

 

By Carl Markham

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren insists history repeating itself can be a good thing for their Champions League aspirations.

Defeat at Chelsea on Sunday left Jurgen Klopp's side heading into the final match of the season most likely needing victory over Brighton to secure a top-four spot having squandered opportunities against West Brom and Stoke.

Victory for Antonio Conte's side, who are currently in fifth place, at home to Huddersfield tomorrow night would see them draw level with Liverpool on 72 points, albeit with a vastly inferior goal difference to their rivals.

It would mean the Reds would have to match Chelsea's result on Sunday at Newcastle in order to guarantee Champions League football next season - although they would have one last chance in the final against Real Madrid later this month.

A year ago they had to do the same in terms of Arsenal's result and responded with a 3-0 win at home to Middlesbrough.

"It's a similar (situation). We know what we can expect," Lovren said.

"It will definitely be tough. Brighton showed in their previous game against Manchester United that they can win against big teams.

"But I'm confident we can do it. It's still in our hands. The next game will definitely be a tough game but I'm confident we can manage to win it."

Meanwhile, Klopp rebuked Mohamed Salah for diving on a day when Liverpool failed to secure their place in next season's Champions League.

A 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, to Olivier Giroud's first-half header, means the Reds must win against Brighton on Sunday's final round of games to guarantee their place in the Premier League top four.

Salah was shown a yellow card a few minutes after Giroud had put Chelsea in front for going to ground on the edge of the hosts' penalty box as he attempted to round Gary Cahill.

"It was a dive or he waited for the contact. I'm not sure," Klopp said.

"That's not what I want to see, that's not what he wants to do. It happened."

Liverpool's 43-goal forward is still chasing the 38-game, single season Premier League record of 32 goals - he currently has 31, with just that Brighton game remaining - and had a frustrating afternoon against his former club.

Klopp expressed annoyance that Antonio Rudiger, Salah's former Roma team-mate, continually grappled with the Egyptian without punishment.

"He can do much better. He will score again no doubt about that," Klopp added.

Belfast Telegraph

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