Liverpool need ‘money-throwing’ Champions League, says Jürgen Klopp

• Klopp: We can’t rely on a benefactor
• Manager rebukes Gary Neville over title claims

Jürgen Klopp has said the Champions League is a “money-throwing competition” vital to Liverpool because the club depends on its own revenue streams for success and not a wealthy benefactor.

The Liverpool manager underlined the importance of Wednesday’s last-16 tie against Bayern Munich as he rejected claims by pundits such as Gary Neville that elimination could help his team win the Premier League. “That’s the reason why they don’t have a job on the sideline – one of the reasons,” he said.

Liverpool made £72m from reaching last season’s Champions League final, money that contributed to a world record pre-tax profit for a football club of £125m for the 2017-18 financial year. Given their domestic and European rivalry with Manchester City, who are under investigation by Uefa and the Premier League for alleged financial fair play breaches, which they deny, Klopp said it was imperative Champions League revenue continues to flow into Anfield.

He refused last week to be drawn on the investigations into City. But, before the second leg in Munich of a tie poised at 0-0, he made the distinction between Liverpool developing within their own financial means and clubs relying on individuals to fund success.

“We have to qualify constantly for Champions League,” Klopp said. “That’s what gives us the money to improve to make the next step and then the next step. When we qualified by beating Napoli [in December], I’m not sure how much it was worth [£10.67m for winning the game and reaching the knockout stage] but it was a lot of money in one game. I didn’t think for a second before that game: ‘Oh my God, we have to earn this money for the club’, but after we got through it was like: ‘Wow, that is proper money.’

“It is a money-throwing competition and we have to be in it as long as possible because we have to improve the situation for the club. It’s not like we can always ask people: ‘Do you have some money? Do you have some money?’ We have to earn most of the money for ourselves with the football that we play. That is exactly what you can do in the Champions League. If it happens, it will be a great night. If it doesn’t happen it is not the end of the world but I don’t think for a second that it will not happen.”

Klopp had a withering rebuke for pundits who, like Neville, have suggested Liverpool would benefit in the title race from exiting the Champions League. “It is so easy to sit in an office or a studio and talk about things like that,” he said. “You draw a season and say the best way to go through it is to go out of all the cup competitions early.

“You do that and in that moment the same people go for you like mad. Now it is closer to the end of the season and it is allowed to go out of the Champions League without even trying to go through? That’s really mad.”


Andy Hunter in Munich

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