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kop crisis Jurgen Klopp's top four confession as he refuses to be drawn on Alisson's tragedy

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confessed his side face a huge challenge to secure a top four finish in the Premier League, ahead of a week that could make or break their hopes.

Sunday's game against Sheffield United is followed by Chelsea's visit to Anfield next Thursday and anything less than maximum points from those two games may see Liverpool drop off the pace in the race for a top four spot.

Liverpool legend John Aldridge admitted earlier this week that the outgoing Premier League champions are now outsiders to secure Champions League football for next season and Klopp has backed up that sentiment.

"Big challenge, big challenge of course, that’s how it is," said Klopp when asked about the battle to secure a top four finish.

"You only have to look at the points; it’s not too far off but already it’s a distance. So that’s all clear. We don’t have to talk too much about that, the only thing we have to do is to try to win as many games as possible.

"That’s what we do – and then we will see at the end of the season. But, of course, it’s a challenge."

He also admitted the mood in his camp was 'not the best' after a woeful run of form and a succession of injuries, with the latest afflicting captain Jordan Henderson as he was ruled out until April after groin surgery.

"The atmosphere is appropriate, how it should be," stated Klopp. "Yes, it’s not the best atmosphere we ever had, but nothing in between us so that’s all fine. We all agree on the things we have to do, but we have good moments as well.

"It’s a very challenging time for this squad, you can imagine, for different reasons. But that’s how it is; in these times you have to show your real face and that’s what the boys do.

"During the week we work hard, we’re looking forward to the next game, the next chance for us to turn it around, to win a football game and all these kind of things. That’s all we are thinking about.

"And you need some positivity for that. It’s not so easy in these moments, of course, it’s not that everything is clicking, but, I’m responsible for the atmosphere and for the mood as well, and I’m in a good mood.

"I’m not happy about the situation but I’ve said it before: this is a massive challenge and a challenge you can face in different ways.

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"I prefer to face it in a positive way because I see a lot of good things in this team, I see a lot of promising things in our performances. We know we don’t have results and we have to change things, that’s clear as well. But we cannot change things without keeping the good things as well, and that’s what we are trying.

"We try to influence as much as we can, and the rest we have to accept. That it’s not an easy situation is clear, but I’m pretty sure there are worse situations out there in the world than ours, so we have a positive atmosphere."

Klopp has been boosted by the news that striker Diogo Jota is ready to return to action for the first time since mid-December, with Fabinho and James Milner also closing in on first team comebacks.

Meanwhile, Klopp insisted he would not be drawn on Alisson Becker's participation in Sunday's game at Bramall Lane, after his father died in a tragic accident in Brazil earlier this week.

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