Jurgen Klopp is embracing the prospect of competing in the Europa League for the first time since reaching the 2016 final in Basel.
Man United‘s 4-1 victory over Chelsea confirmed that the Reds had failed to secure Champions League football for the first time in seven seasons, with fifth place now mathematically secured with a game to spare.
Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Southampton, the manager insisted that Europa League qualification is still positive for Liverpool despite having been accustomed to Champions League football in recent seasons.
“The actual possibility to go through a European trophy is not something that you dismiss, it’s everything,” insisted Klopp.
“I love European competitions and for me that’s no different, to be honest. In the end, it’s a massive prize to win and we will try it definitely.”
The comments come after Mohamed Salah took to social media to express his disappointment at missing out on a top-four spot, using his platform to apologise to supporters for the shortcomings this season.
The Reds’ boss is more upbeat about the situation, however, as he admitted he is looking forward to experiencing a “rocking” Anfield on European nights.
Klopp continued: “People will say it’s only the Europa League, but the first whistle on a European night, whoever the opponent, Anfield will be rocking. And that’s all I need.”
It is an ultimately disappointing campaign for Liverpool fans, who have seen their side lift every conceivable trophy under the current stewardship with Champions League qualification becoming a pre-requisite rather than an achievement.
Liverpool’s season finale at Saint Mary’s leaves both sides with very little to fight for on the final day of the Premier League.
Southampton‘s relegation to the Championship was mathematically confirmed two weeks ago, with the Reds consigned to fifth spot without kicking a ball due to the result at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
The manager will be hoping to bounce back from the disappointing 1-1 draw in the final Anfield outing of the campaign against Aston Villa which all but sealed Liverpool’s European fate.
It came after seven consecutive wins put the Reds in the unlikely position of having an outside chance of reaching Europe’s elite club competition for a seventh straight year.