Jurgen Klopp has played down the significance of Liverpool’s final Premier League clash of the season against Middlesbrough.
Liverpool must beat already relegated Middlesbrough to secure a place in next season’s Champions League for only the second time since 2009 ahead of Arsene Wenger’s side, who are just a point behind the Reds.
With a number of theLiverpool’s senior players saying the match will be ‘like a cup final’, Klopp has instead tried to take the heat out of the occasion by instructing his players to simply keep their concentration and play to their strengths.
“I don’t think we need different kinds of descriptions for this game, so it’s a ‘cup final’ or a ‘World Cup final’ or that it’s the most important game of however many years and everything,” he told the club’s official website.
“It is a football game. If we really—and I know we do—expected from ourselves that in each game we win the game, what is the difference?
“We always have this kind of pressure; that we want to win the game, that we have to do the right things.
“We have to defend well, we have to be good organisationally, we have to create chances and we have to score goals.
“So that is not a big difference and I don’t think that anybody needs this special motivation or whatever.
“In the end, we have to play football and I am really happy I have a team able to do this.”
Liverpool were 4-0 winners in their penultimate match of the season at West Ham last weekend and Klopp thinks the success at the London Stadium can serve as the perfect blueprint.
“Let’s play football because that’s the only thing we can really do, the only thing we really have influence on—that’s what I tried to tell the boys,” he added.
“As long as you are focused on yourself, as long as you can use the good things from the situation, like really fighting for something, then everything is fine.
“If you only feel the pressure, it makes no sense.