Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool squad that any player who only wants to play Champions League football is free to leave.
Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four were dented after a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday — the result meant the club have lost five successive games at Anfield for the first time in their history.
Klopp’s men remain in sixth position in the Premier League table and four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but the German said he was confident his group of players would remain loyal if they finish outside of the Champions League spots.
“[Loyalty from players] is not something we have to worry about,” he told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s home clash against Fulham.
“I know that we have the loyalty of the players and it’s not a situation where a player of this squad says next year we don’t play Champions League so we have to leave. That will not happen, I know them enough to know that and it will not be an issue with new players.
“We said it earlier, years back, if a player doesn’t want to come to us because we don’t play in the Champions League next year, I don’t want him.
“If a player wants to leave us because we don’t play Champions League, I don’t want him. It’s not a personal thing but you always need to find the right squad for the challenges you face and then you go for it. It’s nothing that I worry about.”
Liverpool have competed in the Champions League in all but one season since Klopp took charge at Anfield in 2015 and won the competition with 2-0 win over Tottenham in the 2019 final.
The club struggled to bounce back from dropping out of the top four from 2010 and spent four consecutive seasons outside of the Champions League.
Liverpool returned to the competition during the 2014-15 campaign but were dumped out of the group stages but Klopp believes his team won’t endure the same fate.
“This club will not be a regular out of the Champions League,” he added. “This year has been difficult but the potential and power of the club is a completely different one.
“I don’t know what the team was 10 years ago but we are ready for a battle in this era with the team we have together. This club is in a really good position, in difficult times, and in a better position than other clubs.
“What I can say is nobody has to worry about the future of the club because it’s in good hands and has a really good team together, and that is the best basis for a good future.”