Jürgen Klopp sent Champions League message as one move shows Liverpool and Newcastle difference

1 month ago Liverpool.com

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The Liverpool that Jürgen Klopp wants to see is showing signs of coming back. It is still a way off being perfect and back to full tilt, but the version of the Reds that has beaten Everton and Newcastle inside six days should have enough to achieve its main aim.

It was not the desired target at the start of the campaign, but reaching the Champions League next season after the events that have transpired across the last few months would be something to celebrate (at least quietly, before preparing for a drastic improvement and plenty of transfer activity in the summer).

With their win over a top-four rival, Liverpool completing the double over Newcastle could prove decisive in the race for fourth, with Arsenal and both Manchester clubs likely to tie up the top three spots.

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Fourth position, though, is an open race, with Liverpool pushing to make themselves a proper contender, Newcastle faltering and Tottenham continuing to be inconsistent — beating Manchester City one week and losing 4-1 to Leicester City the next.

It was not to send a message to Newcastle by any means, but one Klopp moment on the touchline summed up why Liverpool should give itself every hope of beating Eddie Howe's side in the final league standings, at least.

Ravaged by injuries throughout the campaign, Liverpool has not often been able to make a quadruple change on the hour mark, with Thiago Alcântara and Luis Díaz still out

Fábio Carvalho, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo were all left out of the matchday squad for the second successive game. Naby Keïta was among the substitutes but was not called upon.

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In one swoop came Diogo Jota, James Milner, Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino — all Champions League regulars who could have started. Klopp simply had options that Howe didn't.

Seemingly from nowhere, Liverpool suddenly has depth and numbers available again, even in the center of the pitch. That does not in any way negate the need for a big spend in the summer when several senior options will depart at the end of their contracts, but for now, does offer some major short-term hope.

Newcastle, sorely missing their star man Bruno Guimarães, had to field youngster Elliot Anderson in the Brazilian's place. Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy emerged from the sidelines — two solid enough Premier League pros, but not players you might associate with a Champions League push.

(Image: Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newcastle has, undoubtedly, done well to make itself a part of the conversation for the top four with the squad that Howe has at his disposal. In the coming seasons, as more and more Saudi money is pumped in, their depth will increase significantly and a place in the Champions League is inevitable sooner rather than later.

Should Liverpool find sufficient form in the final few months of this particular season, though, it should have more than enough to overhaul Newcastle and make the most of the advantage in depth that it currently has.

Right now, only one of the two squads should be capable of finishing in a Champions League place, as one quadruple substitution proved. It is up to the Liverpool players, though, to prove that they are deserving of more top-level European football by finding some consistency at last.

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