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I knew Man United, Newcastle would beat Liverpool to UCL spots — Klopp

LIVERPOOL manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he lost hope his side would sneak into the UEFA Champions League places ahead of Manchester United and Newcastle United.

After a run of seven straight wins beginning from mid-April, Liverpool got to within touching distance of Newcastle and Manchester United, who were occupying the third and fourth positions in the English Premier League.

There were even debates about which of the wobbling Uniteds would drop out of the top four for Liverpool, but the clubs found their form and secured the results necessary to seal the spots.

Newcastle confirmed their own place on Monday with a 0-0 draw at home to Leicester City while Manchester United defeated Chelsea 4-1 at Old Trafford last night to guarantee a top four finish.

“After the last game when it was clear Manchester United and Newcastle needed a point, I knew they would get it,” Klopp said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s final league match at Southampton.

“I drew a line. I’m an optimistic person but at that moment I couldn’t see it. If it would have happened we would have gone for it.”

Moments after United’s win over Chelsea, Mohamed Salah tweeted his apologies to Liverpool fans over the club’s inability to secure Champions League football for next season.

Klopp said there was nothing untoward in his forward’s gesture.

“In the world of social media, so many bad things happen but that wasn’t one of them,” the German said.

“It was a normal description of his situation. I just saw him in the canteen and he is smiling; I didn’t ask him why, but that is his mood.”

When asked about the significance of Sunday’s game at already relegated Southampton, Klopp said: “I cannot remember the last time we played on the last day and everything was sorted.

“Usually we play and everything is at stake. We want to play to win and that is the only reason we need.

“It makes sense to make changes. To get fresh legs in and play players that want to show something.”

Klopp admitted that a lack of Champions League football could adversely affect his transfer plans in the summer.

This is the first time Liverpool have failed to reach Europe’s elite continental club competition since his first full season in 2016/2017.

“I don’t think [lack of Champions League will have an impact] but you never know,” he noted.

“It is always possible and probably likely that things won’t go as big as you want because the better the player, the less the desire of the club is to let him go. We are prepared for that.”

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