Jurgen Klopp insists Europa League will be ‘Liverpool’s competition’ after Champions League hopes dented with Villa draw
- Liverpool lose ground in top four race
- United need just one point from two games
- Klopp's men heading for Europa League
WHAT HAPPENED? A below-par performance against Aston Villa rescued by a fairytale equaliser from Roberto Firmino means Liverpool will more than likely be playing in the Europa League for the first time in eight years next season. The Reds have played in the Champions League for the past five seasons, reaching the final on three occasions and lifting the trophy once, but Klopp has insisted the Reds will make Europe's secondary competition their own.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to BBC Sport after Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Villa in their final home game of the season, Klopp said: "We will make it [the Europa League] our competition.
"I am not that spoilt. That we are already qualified for the Europa League is incredible with all these teams around us. That's really difficult and we did it, that is good.
"For so long we couldn't even hear the sound of the Champions League, that's how far away we were. The Europe League is absolutely fine. Let's see what we can do."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: A remarkable 10-game unbeaten streak meant Liverpool closed the gap to the Champions League places to just one point, however, Manchester United's win at Bournemouth means the Red Devils need just one point from two games to secure their place in the top four.
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DID YOU KNOW? Whilst Liverpool fans may be disappointed to miss out, it gives the Reds the chance to win the only trophy Klopp has not won while at the club, despite reaching the final in his first eight months in charge.
WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? Liverpool can still reach the Champions League next season, but it would require an almighty slip up from United. Klopp's men finish their Premier League campaign at already-relegated Southampton, before what looks to be a big summer in the transfer market begins.