JURGEN KLOPP revealed he would “drive a player himself” should they wish to leave Liverpool after they missed out on the top four.
The Reds were consigned to Europa League football next season after Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Chelsea on Thursday.
Mo Salah admitted to being “totally devastated” after missing out on a Champions League spot – saying it is the “bare minimum” for Liverpool and that there is “no excuse”.
Boss Klopp subsequently played down the Egyptian’s comments, but said that he would not stand in any player’s way if they wanted to leave in order to play in the Champions League.
Asked if he was concerned that Salah could leave, ahead of tomorrow’s final day clash with Southampton, the German said: “No worries – no.
“I only heard what he said, I couldn’t read anything that could lead in that direction.
“Mo loves being here and Mo was part of, he said, apologies for what ‘we’ did – not apologies for ‘what the other guys did.’
“It is all fine. If ever a player would come to me and said: ‘Oh, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, I have to leave!’ I would drive him to the other club myself.
“I would take the key and say: ‘Come in the car! Where do you want to go? I drive you.’
“That would be something I never could understand – ‘Oh we didn’t qualify for the Champions League! I need to work in the Champions League, so I go!’ I am responsible for this mess, so you cannot go in these moments. It is not the case with Mo, not at all.
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“And nobody else told me – they ask if they can have a longer holiday or whatever – but nobody asks me if after holiday they have to come back. So that was not in our conversation.”
Liverpool have reached three of the last five Champions League finals, and won the competition for a sixth time in 2019.
The Reds banked £80million for reaching last year’s final, while winning the Europa League would be worth just a quarter of that.
Quizzed if playing in Europe’s second-tier competition would be a “booby prize” for his side, Klopp, 55, said: “What is a booby?! I needed to become fifth to learn that word.
“No, not for me. I understand where you are coming from, football is like that, on the level we usually perform it is about Champions League because of the money, because of the opponents and all this.
“And it is not that I follow in the last four years group stage games of the Europa League a lot.
“When you are in the CL you have a lot of other things to do but I love European competitions. And for me that’s no difference. I know when you play there’s no difference.
“There will be difficult opponents, different countries probably and in the end a massive prize to win.
“Not that I say now we will do that but we will try it, definitely. People may think ‘Ah, it’s just the Europa League’ but I am 100 per cent sure that come the first whistle, Thursday night, whoever is the opponent, Anfield will be rocking. And that is all I need.
“If somebody wants to go through the whole year and think ‘ah but it’s not Champions League!’ then I cannot help that person. I don’t know how you can help them.”
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