Liverpool not 'out of the woods' despite winning streak
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool is on a winning streak and talking about European soccer again.
Jurgen Klopp cautioned, though, that his team isn't “out of the woods” yet in what's been a disappointing season.
Liverpool can make it four wins in a row Sunday when Tottenham visits Anfield as both teams fight to keep their slim top-four hopes alive.
The Merseyside club has played in the lucrative Champions League six consecutive years but extending that streak would require a collapse by either Newcastle or Manchester United.
“This is obviously a season where a lot of things were difficult for a lot of teams,” Klopp said Friday. “We have had our problems, Chelsea has their problems, Tottenham has their problems. It’s uncool for us (and) it opens the door for other teams.”
The second-tier Europa League is a more likely landing spot, and the German manager said he'd be “absolutely fine” with that.
“We take what we get,” Klopp said. “The season taught us a few things. Little mistakes during a season can cause massive problems, can have big impacts.”
Fifth and sixth place in the Premier League are in line to qualify for the Europa League, rather than just the fifth spot, because of implications of the FA Cup final featuring United against Manchester City and because United is likely to finish in the top four. The third-tier Europa Conference League would go to the seventh-place finisher.
Spurs and red-hot Aston Villa both have 54 points, with Tottenham in fifth place on goal difference, and seventh-place Liverpool is one point back with a game in hand.
Villa takes its 10-game unbeaten run to Old Trafford on Sunday. United has a six-point cushion and two games in hand over Villa and Tottenham.
Liverpool has a three-game winning streak and is unbeaten in five since a 4-1 loss to Manchester City to start April. A victory Sunday would match the team's longest winning streak this season, but Klopp says they're not “out of the woods.”
“It is good but it can only be the start of something,” he said.
Liverpool has lost nine games this season and hasn’t hit double digits in the loss column since the 2015-16 Premier League season (10 defeats) when they finished eighth in Klopp’s first season in charge.
“We have to stay super focused. We have to be super aggressive, angry, greedy, whatever, show that the most important prize in football is the three points,” he said.
Tottenham, currently on its third manager this season with caretaker Ryan Mason at the helm, is coming off a 2-2 draw with United on Thursday.
“The team they have is still absolutely exceptional,” Klopp said of Spurs. “They were for some years by some distance the best counter-attacking team in Europe.”
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The Associated Press