Paul Merson has insisted that it would be “massive” if Liverpool drop out of the top four in the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have had a wretched season in defence of the league title. They have been hit by injuries, but some poor results along the way leaves them in sixth after 26 games.
Ahead of Man City’s game against Wolves, the Reds are 19 points behind the leaders. The champions have already conceded that their hopes of retaining the Premier League are over.
Liverpool are now focused on securing a spot in the top four. They face Chelsea at Anfield on Thursday night, who sit a place above them in the table.
Speaking on Sky Sports, as cited by The Mirror, Merson suggested that neither team “can afford to lose” on Thursday:
“Liverpool and Chelsea and teams like that will be spending money on the strength of expecting that money to be coming in next season, Champions League money. That’s why it’s a big game – I don’t think either team can afford to lose it.
“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.”