| 13.7°C Dublin

save our season Top-four spot would give Jurgen Klopp's Reds a reason to celebrate


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts on the sidelines at Anfield as his side exited the Champions League on Wednesday. Photo: David Klein/Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts on the sidelines at Anfield as his side exited the Champions League on Wednesday. Photo: David Klein/Reuters

Jurgen Klopp in an empty Anfield

Jurgen Klopp in an empty Anfield


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts on the sidelines at Anfield as his side exited the Champions League on Wednesday. Photo: David Klein/Reuters

The importance of Liverpool salvaging their season and reclaiming a top-four place can be laid bare by considering the estimated £280million (€323m) windfall the club have received from their four years of Champions League participation.

Jurgen Klopp admitted there were a multitude of motivations for his staff and players to get over the quarter-final defeat by Real Madrid swiftly and refocus their efforts on chasing down Chelsea, West Ham and Leicester before Monday’s trip to Leeds.

“We love this competition and it is for different reasons very important for this club,” said Klopp.

From a sporting and economic perspective, Champions League qualification is a game-changer and the financial hit of missing out could not be more badly timed given the consequences of the pandemic, which have already cost Liverpool an estimated £120m (€138m) in lost earnings.

Liverpool returned to the European elite in the 2017-’18 season when they earned £71.5m for reaching the final. The following year, they received £95.5million as winners, while even when defeated in the round of 16 in 2020, they won £71.3m in prize money.

The English clubs will have to wait until the end of the season to see how much they earn from this year’s competition – payments are related to the success of teams in the same member association – but a conservative estimate suggests Liverpool’s earnings will be at least £40 million (€46m) for reaching the last eight. As English champions, they were set to receive more than their Premier League rivals the further they proceeded in the competition, but Chelsea and Manchester City’s progress will impact on the final distribution of the prize fund.

Of greater concern for the Anfield club is the possibility of not being in the competition at all next season.

Liverpool have been readying themselves for that possibility after their alarming post-January dip and have issued assurances that while they would suffer, steps have been taken to minimise the impact. Fenway Sports Group’s (FSG) recent £543m sale of a 10pc stake in their Boston-based company to RedBird Capital Partners was a reaction to the challenging times.

That deal ensures Liverpool will be run in the same manner as throughout FSG’s tenure, and there will be no adverse changes in transfer policy. The club have always adopted a self-sufficient model.

But the financial dividend and status from being in the Champions League opens more opportunities, especially when it comes to player recruitment.

Klopp said recently he had no interest in those who state Champions League football as a condition of moving to Liverpool. That does not alter the fact that for many players at clubs already established in the competition, it has always been a deciding factor in career choices.

Liverpool trail fourth-placed West Ham by three points with seven Premier League games remaining. Third-placed Leicester are four points away, having been 10 points clear at the start of April. Klopp led the club back into the Champions League in 2017. Liverpool last dropped out of the competition in 2015, after a poor campaign under Brendan Rodgers which cost him his job soon after.

Before that, the club had waited four years to get back. After failing to qualify in 2010 it became clear that Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jnr’s hopes of refinancing mounting debts had been reliant on UEFA earnings. They were forced to sell Liverpool to FSG by creditors the Royal Bank of Scotland within months.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

There is no possibility of those scenarios being repeated now. While there will be frustration and disappointment that a season which promised more will not end in silverware, they will have cause to celebrate if Klopp can lead a late recovery into the top four.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors