Jurgen Klopp is adamant that if Liverpool drop out of the Champions League it will be a short-term absence and will not have the same dire consequences that meant the end of the Anfield careers of Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers.
After being in the European elite for six years during the Benitez years, Liverpool suffered a downturn when they failed to qualify in 2010. Benitez lost his job, Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres handed in transfer requests and calamitous financial consequences facilitated a change of ownership.
Rodgers led the club back for one season in 2014 but lost his job a year later after failing to retain top-four status and losing Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. Klopp says “it will not happen” that any of his squad will look to leave should they fall short of the top four this season.
“That is nothing we have to worry about,” he said. “I know we have loyalty from the players. It is not a situation where a player in the squad says we are not in the Champions League so I have to leave. That will not happen. I know them well enough to know that. The club is in a different situation and it will not be an issue with new players.
“We said it earlier, years back, if a player does not want to come to us because we don’t play Champions League next season, then I don’t want him. And if a player wants to leave because we don’t play Champions League, then I don’t want him. It is not a personal thing, but it is always like this.”
With Liverpool’s finances more stable under Fenway Sports Group than under Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jnr – the former American owners needed the Champions League to satisfy creditors – Klopp says there is no comparison between 2021 and the dark days of 2010.
Liverpool’s injury problems continue, with centre-half Ozan Kabak a doubt for tomorrow’s visit of Fulham.
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