Be regulars in Champs League, urges Klopp

LONDON • Manager Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool must qualify for the Champions League more frequently after sealing a top-four finish and completing an "outstanding" season with a 3-0 victory against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana scored as Liverpool secured the win required to finish above Arsenal in the race for qualification.

A play-off in late August, when Liverpool will be seeded in the draw, will determine whether Klopp's team reach the lucrative group stage.

Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League only twice in eight seasons and their manager said the club's status demands that it becomes a regular occurrence.

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"It makes a difference financially of course but it is the sports side of things that is more interesting," he said. "It is the best tournament in Europe.

"They might say differently in South America but in my opinion there is maybe nothing better in the world. You want to be there. Liverpool needs to be there consistently.

"I am not saying we are already in but I am already looking forward to it."

Champions League qualification will enhance Liverpool's appeal in the transfer market and Klopp admitted that work had begun on landing his leading targets.

He said: "It is not that I will sit together with Michael Edwards (Liverpool's sporting director) tomorrow and think about what we need. Most of the decisions are already done. We will be prepared.

"Tomorrow we fly to Australia (for a post-season friendly against Sydney FC on Wednesday) and when we come back I have a bit of work to do, just a few phone calls to make, before holiday."

Liverpool had spent only two weeks outside the top four since September and Klopp claimed fourth place reflects the progress made during his first full season.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Be regulars in Champs League, urges Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe