Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are fighting a desperate battle for a place in the Champions League, but to achieve that they will probably have to do something that the manager has never done before.
On Sunday, Manchester United and Liverpool will meet in what is considered the biggest rivalry of the country. In 2021, the settlement has an additional ingredient: If Manchester United loses, city rival Manchester City will be league champions. If Liverpool don’t win, they can probably say goodbye to next year’s Champions League, the tournaments they last won just two years ago.
– We will not end up in Europe without winning matches. It is quite clear. We have to win, says Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp before the settlement.
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But he had never done that at Old Trafford before. Klopp and Liverpool have met Manchester United from home six times since he took over the club in autumn 2015. Neither of them ended in victory.
United have won two matches, drawing four times. Ole Gunnar Solskjær was United’s manager in three of them: 0-0 and 1-1 in the league – United’s 3-2 FA Cup victory.
– It’s like I say for statistics: He has to be first once. This match is completely open. I guess it’s getting pretty tight. Liverpool have to sacrifice a lot from the start and have to have an offensive entrance. They have a lot to lose without winning, says TV 2 expert Nils Johan Semb.
He believes that Liverpool last season went from “the best in the world” to “undersag” in the Sunday settlement.
– It is primarily about injuries in the central defense. As a result, they began to lose, lose self-confidence – and insecurity spread. Then the quality drops, says Semb.
Losing a place in the Champions League will not be just a sporting decline for Liverpool. It also hits the wallet.
– Playing in the Champions League is huge, especially financially. So that’s very important. If we fail, then that is not good, says Klopp at the press conference before the match.
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The chairman of Liverpool’s fan club, Pal Christian Møller, shares Semb’s opinion: It is certainly possible to break Klopp’s bad line at Old Trafford.
– Liverpool is definitely good enough. It’s the kind of battle we need to fight. But United have also been good lately, so it will certainly be a difficult match, says Møller for VG.
– The season was very strange in many ways. It’s a season that most Liverpool fans really want to end.
Despite the disappointing season, the fans’ coach did not give up on his dreams of Champions League matches.
– It’s a bit like a “be or don’t be” fight. If we win, we should have the opportunity for next season’s Champions League matches.