Paul Merson has suggested to Sky Sports that it will be simply “unthinkable” for Liverpool if they drop out of the top-four this season.
The Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already admitted defeat in the title race, and now Liverpool have a tough fight on their hands to book their place for next season’s Champions League.
Manchester City are playing on another level and they’re showing no signs of weakness at all. Manchester United are likely to chase them for a while, but apart from that, it’s an open race for the top-four.
The likes of Leicester, West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa are all in the mix with 12 rounds left to play.
Merson claims that the current side under Jurgen Klopp has been “unbelievable” for the last couple of seasons, and it will be unthinkable if they drop out of the top-four.
The Sky Sports pundit also feels that the north London club will struggle to attract top players if they don’t qualify for the Champions League.
He told Sky Sports:
“I can’t explain how big it would be if Liverpool ended up not getting in the top four, it’s massive. Massive. Liverpool can’t not be in the Champions League. People go over the years they might not have been in every year but this Liverpool team of the last two years have been, bar the last three months, unbelievable.
“To be out of the top four would be unthinkable. Unthinkable. They would’ve budgeted everything, everything about it – season tickets, everything. TV money from the Champions League, prize money for getting through the groups; it pays people’s wages. They’re not bottomless pits.
“They still have to look at their books. It won’t be ‘oh, don’t worry about it’. And they need to bring in players. We’ve seen that with a few injuries they’ve become a lot less of a team. How are you going to get players to Liverpool now if they’re not going to be in the Champions League? They need to get in the top four, 100 per cent.”
Merson is absolutely spot on here. The Liverpool owners haven’t invested enough in recent transfer windows, and according to James Pearce, the same trend is likely to continue in the summer.
Liverpool’s best chance of securing a marquee player is by selling one of their front three at a high price, a repeat of what they did with Phillipe Coutinho. Plus, they need to ship out fringe players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi as well.
However, without Champions League football, the Reds won’t be able to attract top players, and it will become difficult for them to be competitive in the league.
In other news, check – Liverpool and Chelsea combined XI ahead of their crucial top-four clash on Thursday night.