Jurgen Klopp rules out signing a player seeking Champions League if Liverpool fail to qualify

‘I’m not sure I’d want them to be honest’: Jurgen Klopp rules out trying to sign a Champions League-hunting player next season if Liverpool fail to qualify, with Jude Bellingham among his transfer targets.

  • Liverpool are currently sixth in the league, seven points off the top four
  • Champions League football can play a big factor in attracting top players
  • Jurgen Klopp isn’t sure he’s interested in players who didn’t want him

Jurgen Klopp doesn’t think Champions League participation is the only thing transfer targets should consider, but finishing in the top four won’t hurt when chasing stars like Jude Bellingham.

So the stakes are high when Liverpool return to league action at Aston Villa on Christmas Day.

They have been playing catch-up since the start of the season, when they picked up just two points from nine, and while their form has improved, they remain sixth, seven points adrift of a Champions League place.

Jurgen Klopp says he would hesitate to sign players who did not want the Champions League

Facing a Villa side minus World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emi Martínez is an advantage, but that is offset by injuries to Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino leaving the visitors up front.

“The top four is our main target,” admitted Klopp. ‘Fifteen points behind the leader Arsenal, you can’t ask if we will be champions.

“At the moment we still have two ways to qualify and as long as that is the case I see us as good contenders.

“I want to be in the Champions League all the time and 100 percent we are one of the contenders for the next few years.

“If a player would rather go to a club that’s in the Champions League this year but maybe not next year, I’m not sure he’d want to, to be honest.”

It will be much harder to sign players like Jude Bellingham if they don’t go in the top four

It is rare for elite players to choose clubs knowing they are not in the Champions League – Paul Pogba was an exception when he signed for Manchester United in 2016.

More common is the example of Eden Hazard who, like Bellingham, was chased by all the biggest teams in Europe and only settled for Chelsea when he heard they had qualified for the top competition.

Klopp could not have made his admiration for Bellingham more evident in his final press conference before heading to Villa Park, describing the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund player as “exceptional”.

And he is also confident his current set of players are capable of emulating their run of form 12 months ago, when they began 2022 with a 15-match unbeaten run to March.

“The signals I received at our training camp in Dubai during the World Cup were very positive,” said the Liverpool manager. “There were also positives against Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Thursday although we lost 3-2. If all the signs are positive then I see no reason why they shouldn’t be.

“It’s been completely different to our pre-season in the summer. In the friendlies we’ve just played I’ve seen that we’re going in the right direction. Against AC Milan he was very good in every aspect.”

Adding to the injuries up front, James Milner is unlikely to feature at teatime after injuring his hamstring at the Etihad, and World Cup finalist Ibrahima Konate will only return to training on Tuesday.

“Having two long-term injuries up front is not helpful. It never was, it never will be,” said Klopp, who is looking for reinforcements in the January window.

‘Last season we had Luis Diaz who was very useful for this part of the season. To do something very positive again, why not?

Source: Jurgen Klopp rules out signing a player seeking Champions League if Liverpool fail to qualify

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