Jurgen Klopp have made a damning admission after Liverpool Champions League hopes teetered on the brink of extinction.
In a penultimate clash against Aston Villa at Anfield, the Reds salvaged a point from the jaws of defeat leaving their hope for Champions League football next season more unlikely.
With a commanding control of the ball, Liverpool failed to nib the visitors in the bud. A gritty display by the Unai Emery-led squad spoil the show for the Reds.
They needed a win to stay on in their chase for a top four finish with Newcastle and Manchester United returning to winning ways to close in on securing a top four finish.
Aston Villa missed a golden chance to take the lead in the 22nd minute when Liverpool conceded a spot-kick but Watkins missed it.
However, they were able to grab an opener five minutes after the missed penalty with Jacob Ramsey scoring for the visitors in the 27th minute.
Despite having a lump of time to turn the game around, Liverpool needed a 90th-minute goal from soon-to-leave forward, Roberto Firmino to nail in the equaliser.
The match ended in a draw after the final whistle with Roberto Firmino’s goal salvaging top four hopes for the home side at the death.
Speaking in a post-match press conference after the draw, Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, did not hid his frustration after the game but made a damning admission that Liverpool are not too spoilt to play in the Europa League.
“We will make it [the Europa League] our competition. I am not that spoilt. That we are already qualified for the Europa League is incredible with all these teams around us,” he said.
Before the season began to tilt towards the end, Liverpool were far behind in the top four race. Early in April, they were 12 points away from the race but a massive resurgence in the squad saw them nick 21 points from seven consecutive wins to close the gap.
There were hopes they may likely make it to the top four race with Manchester United beginning to drop points.
Now, the result at Anfield against Aston Villa has dealt a heavy although not a final blow to their top four hopes.
There is still a lifeline for Liverpool to make it to the top four as it stands. If Manchester United lose their next two games and Liverpool win their last game, they will finish in the top four.
Jurgen Klopp first stint in European football with Liverpool was in the Europa League. He reached the final of the competition before losing to Sevilla. Since then, he has not failed to qualify for Champions League and have won the competition in 2019.
Liverpool will play Southampton in their last game this season. The result of the game will be insignificant should Manchester United win or draw their outstanding match against Chelsea on Thursday.
Liverpool’s return to European second-tier after eight years marks the club’s gradual decline under Jurgen Klopp with the German tactician expected to be busy in the summer transfer window as the club prepares for next season.
Jurgen Klopp post match press conference after Aston Villa draw