Klopp says 'pressure is off' after Liverpool's late-season collapse

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Jurgen Klopp said the "pressure is off" after his Liverpool team dropped out of the Premier League title race, urging his men to rediscover their best form in the final few games of his Anfield reign.

2 months ago
Liverpool have won just one of their past five league games and it would now take a miracle for them to catch Arsenal and Manchester City. The club were at one stage on track to win a quadruple but will end the season with just the League Cup, though they are already guaranteed Champions League football for next season.
"It is an achievement," Klopp said. "Does it feel to everybody like that? Probably not, but to me it does and that's how the perspective can change during a season. "Because for a while we obviously looked like we could go all the way or at least stay in the race for longer, which was definitely possible.
"For different reasons that didn't work out but it's still probably third place in the league behind two teams who have done really well and they go all the way." The German, 56, said he wanted his team to play with freedom in his last three matches, starting with Sunday's home game against fifth-placed Tottenham.
"The pressure is off now. That's done. It would be really cool if we could play really, really good football again," he said. "That would be absolutely nice because obviously we have been very tense in the last weeks, we had a super-intensive period as well."

Aston Villa's 4-2 defeat in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final against Olympiakos on Thursday means it is unlikely that any English team will be in a European final this season. Klopp was adamant the Premier League was still the top league in the world but said some of the TV scheduling was a "crime".
"If you make of the fact that English teams are not in the finals, if you make of that that we all under-performed," he said. "There might be moments, us against Atalanta, stuff like that, but in general I've watched a lot of football all over the world - the Premier League is the best league in the world, so it's not overrated."
He added: "That they dare to give Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday 12:30 is a crime. I was actually waiting for Amnesty International to go to them. "In the whole world we have the quickest turnaround between games but they are still happy and collect (TV) subscribers."
Klopp was asked how important it was for the club to keep top scorer Mohamed Salah, who had a touchline spat with his manager during last week's 2-2 draw at West Ham. "It's not my subject any more, these kind of things," he said. "I don't think I should speak about it, to be honest.
"The future of the club, I just try to help to prepare the basis for that and I think that's what we did and then these decisions, they will be made by other people." Klopp said the public disagreement with the Egyptian forward was a "non-story". "If we wouldn't know each other for that long I'm not sure how we would deal with it but we've known each other for that long and respect each other too much that it's really no problem."