Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has money to spend in this summer’s transfer market and believes Champions League football will be the “icing on the cake” for prospective targets.
However, he believes the historical “power and size” of the club has been enhanced by the success of this campaign and the vibe he has got from enquiries already made for potential signings is more positive than this time last year.
Klopp is asked if Liverpool are in a good financial position to get the players they need this summer, says "Yes."— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarrett) May 19, 2017
Nevertheless, securing a top-four finish is imperative on the final weekend of the season if that bubble is not to be burst.
“The Champions League, for different reasons, is a wonderful competition,” said Klopp.”
“You can earn a lot of money there, that’s money we didn’t have last year – but we are already in a good position.”
“We are a club without financial problems and we have money to spend but it makes sense to think before we spend and that is what we are doing.”
A victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday will guarantee Champions League football and that could be the final convincing factor when it comes down to a player deciding whether to join Klopp at Anfield.
Klopp says Liverpool will stay focused for Champions League pic.twitter.com/2sqgRItya2— Liverpool Echo Video (@LivEchoVideo) May 18, 2017
“The Champions League would be the icing on the cake but that’s it,” he added.
“It should not sound negative but if Champions League is the only reason why a player is coming it makes no sense for him or for us because one year of not qualifying and the player decides (he) wants another Champions League club.”
“It is important for players because that is what they want to play but the progress and development and positive perspective of a club is important for players and we are powerful in a lot of parts of the game.”
“We will be successful in the future but for this we need the players, of course. We have very good players and we need a few more.”
🎥 Klopp on Liverpool's summer transfer plans. pic.twitter.com/NjIJY5Zz70— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) May 19, 2017
Fourth-placed Liverpool are a point ahead of Arsenal heading into the last game and as long as they match the Gunners’ result they will play in Europe’s elite competition for only the second time in the last eight years.
But should they drop to fifth, Klopp is still confident the progress made this season will be enough to persuade some of his targets it is still worth a move.
“Even from outside Liverpool always looked a massive club,” he said.
“Chelsea has the money, Man City is now coming up – wonderful players, big signings – Man United is Man United, but we are a really interesting project.”
“Everyone can see from outside. The mood is different, a few people are different, but the base is there.”
“It is still the power and size of this club and then the perspective and that has changed, we feel it in the talks (with players).”
Klopp: "I felt from the moment I came here it’s a big honour. I can’t stop thinking about it. There’s pressure but pressure is no problem."— LFC KNOWLEDGE (@LFCknowledge) May 19, 2017
“They have to see it, they have to feel it and they have to make a decision.”
“We’ve made a decision before we go into the talks, of course, because that is always how it is because you commit 100 per cent.”
“Plan A player says ‘Aaah, sounds all good but…’, plan B you are not sure and plan C you have to decide when A and B are not there.
“That is really difficult but the players are really positive this year compared to last year because they have seen our way, our football and that is good.”
Provided by Press Association
With the Premier League title and relegation already decided, there is only Champions League qualification to play for in the final weekend’s matches… or is there?
Here are ten reasons to pay attention to each of Sunday’s games.
ARSENAL V EVERTON
Arsenal’s midweek win over Sunderland kept them in the Champions League picture, meaning they can displace Liverpool or possibly Manchester City with a win. A draw could be enough if Liverpool lose by at least two goals at home to relegated Middlesbrough. Everton are set in the Europa League but Romelu Lukaku needs to respond to Tottenham’s Harry Kane moving two clear in the Golden Boot race.
BURNLEY V WEST HAM
Almost equally significant, the Turf Moor clash will determine who is the best team in claret and blue – Burnley, on 40 points, need a win to overtake the Hammers who have 42.
CHELSEA V SUNDERLAND
Victory for Chelsea would be a record 30th in a Premier League season, breaking their own mark from the first two years of Jose Mourinho’s initial reign as manager in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The record even encompasses the competition’s early years after rebranding, when the season comprised 42 games rather than 38.
Even if they lose, they will finish with more wins this season than opponents Sunderland have points.
HULL V TOTTENHAM
After scoring four against Leicester, Kane will be out to add to his 26 league goals and make it impossible for Lukaku to deny him top-scorer honours. If Hull can sign off with a win after being condemned to relegation, it would equal their highest Premier League points total of 37 set in 2013-14.
LECIESTER V BOURNEMOUTH
A massive game for both teams as they battle for the accolade of highest-placed English manager. Victory for Craig Shakespeare will give him the bragging rights over Eddie Howe as his side will finish 10th, one place ahead of the Cherries. It would also avoid Leicester becoming the first Premier League champions to finish the following season in the bottom half of the table.
LIVERPOOL V MIDDLESBROUGH
Actual footballing consequences riding on this one, with Liverpool needing a win to make sure of their Champions League place. Relegated Boro have the fewest wins and goals in the top flight this season, but have the chance to catch Sunderland on both fronts with the Black Cats just one ahead.
MANCHESTER UNITED V CRYSTAL PALACE
United will finish sixth and are entirely focused on the Europa League final, so what is at stake here is good old-fashioned cash – each place in the final table is worth a reported £1.9million in additional prize money and Palace can finish anywhere from 11th to, technically, 17th (although Swansea’s poor goal difference makes that unlikely).
The match, therefore, is worth a potential £11.4m to them – roughly what they paid for midfielder Luka Milivojevic.
SOUTHAMPTON V STOKE
After the European places, everybody wants to be best of the rest, right? Right? Fans of eighth-placed Saints will be nervously biting their nails to see if their side can hold off West Brom, Bournemouth and theoretically Leicester for the prestigious honour. Stoke, on the same points total as Palace, are therefore playing for approximately one Xherdan Shaqiri’s worth of transfer funds.
SWANSEA V WEST BROM
Howe and Shakespeare may top the English managers table, but West Brom’s Welsh boss Tony Pulis still occupies top spot as far as Britain is concerned and will need a result to hold on to that spot. Paul Clement, with survival assured, could still move above Burnley’s Sean Dyche in the standings as well.
WATFORD V MANCHESTER CITY
A point would rubber-stamp City’s Champions League spot and most likely direct passage to the group stage, although if Liverpool rack up the goals then a win may be required to keep hold of third place. Watford have lost five in a row – another would see Walter Mazzarri end his reign by matching Hull and Palace for the season’s worst losing run.
Provided by Press Association
The Premier League comes to a conclusion on Sunday with title and relegation issues already resolved.
However, the race for a top-four spot is going right to the finish line on what could be a dramatic afternoon.
Here are five five talking points as the 2016-17 Premier League season is consigned to history.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are involved in a three-way fight for two Champions League places.
Third-placed City need only a point at Watford to book their place, and even if they lost they would only be denied by Liverpool beating Middlesbrough and an Arsenal victory over Everton producing a five-goal swing.
Wenger: "We've come through a difficult period & won a few games. I don't think in terms of top four... I think of us doing our job instead" pic.twitter.com/q9VFd2yzJO— Premier League (@premierleague) May 13, 2017
Liverpool also have their destiny in their own hands as three points will secure Champions League football for only the second time in eight years. Draw or lose, though, and Arsenal would be ready to pounce.
The Gunners are the outsiders to be dining at European football’s top table next season, but four consecutive win suggests Arsene Wenger’s side have not given up the chase just yet.
On the face of it, Chelsea’s motivation levels might have dipped after a fifth title in 12 years was confirmed by a 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend. It was a very unChelsea-like performance on Monday as Antonio Conte’s champions were guilty of some haphazard defending in beating Watford 4-3.
But Chelsea have every reason to finish the season in style at home to relegated Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Another win would be their 30th of the campaign, a Premier League best in a 38-game campaign.
Chelsea currently hold the record of 29 set in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons under Jose Mourinho. The record would provide another feather in Conte’s cap, and raise yet more cheer before the Premier League trophy presentation at the end of the game.
Harry Kane’s four-goal salvo as Tottenham thrashed Leicester 6-1 on Thursday night put the England striker in pole position to win the Golden Boot for the second successive season.
Not bad for a player who has missed three months of the season through injury.
Kane goes into Spurs’ final game at Hull with 26 league goals to his name, two ahead of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and three more than Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. The 23-year-old scored 25 last season and has become only the fifth player in the Premier League era to reach that mark in successive seasons.
Kane would be the first player since Robin van Persie in 2013 to win the Golden Boot in successive seasons.
TV pundit Alan Hansen famously once said that Manchester United would not win “anything with kids” and Jose Mourinho seems set to put that theory to the test against Crystal Palace. The United manager has Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax on his mind, with a place in next season’s Champions League at stake in Stockholm.
JM confirms Pereira, O'Hara, Mitchell, McTominay, Harrop, Willock, Gomes, Dearnley, Fosu-Mensah & Tuanzebe will all be involved in Sunday.— Man Utd Update (@MufcDevilUpdate) May 19, 2017
Having complained that the Palace fixture should have been brought forward to allow United extra preparation time for the final, Mourinho is set to hand youth its chance at Old Trafford.
Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Matty Willock, Josh Harrop and Zachary Dearnley are all in line to make the matchday party, and for many of them it could prove to be the biggest afternoon of their careers.
The final day of the season is always a time for fond farewells and the odd tear or two – and Sunday will be no exception.
John Terry will end his 22-year stay at Stamford Bridge by playing his 717th Chelsea game, lifting the Premier League trophy and making a farewell speech to the fans.
Conte describes Terry as a legend for Chelsea and compares his career with players like Totti, Maldini and Del Piero. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 19, 2017
We wait to see if Arsene Wenger and Wayne Rooney are saying goodbye to the league, even if they still have cup finals to come.
Watford’s Walter Mazzari is on his way and Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are definitely bidding bon voyage for now, although Harry Maguire, Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe will probably end up staying somewhere.
And will Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Riyad Mahrez, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michael Keane be bowing out for their current clubs? A busy summer awaits.