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Klopp keeps focus on Brighton amid Real Madrid talk

AFP  |  Liverpool 

Jurgen Klopp's big challenge this weekend is to keep his players focused on when the temptation is to look towards Real Madrid.

Liverpool's first final since 2007 offers a spectacular end to a thrilling campaign, yet there is still work to do to qualify for next season's competition.

Fourth-placed need to avoid defeat against at Anfield on Sunday in their final match to ensure they hold off Chelsea in the battle for a top-four finish.

While Klopp's side have produced some exceptional performances to reach their showdown with Real in Kiev, particularly in their quarter-final victory over Manchester City and the home leg of their semi-final against Roma, their domestic form has dipped over the past month.

They have collected just six points from their past five league matches, failing to beat either of the bottom two, and their top-four place suddenly started to look wobbly after last Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

In the end, Klopp was grateful to a favour from the person who was best man at his wedding -- the -- whose side earned a 1-1 draw at on Wednesday to damage fifth-placed Chelsea's chances of overtaking

Klopp has suggested he will resist the temptation to rest Mohamed Salah, or any of his other key players in order to keep them fresh for final, noting the fact that it does not take place until 13 days after the game.

"As long as we are not 100 percent in the Champions League, this last game is the most important of the season," he said.

"I've said it a few times, all the things we've done so far have built a basis, we have to use the basis. The basis is obviously good because if we win against Brighton we are in

"That's good but there is still a job to do. I have no problem with that. That's the situation but it's no problem to play the game, we have to play it anyway so now we have to win it, that's it."

- Confident Salah -


Much of the focus at Liverpool remains on forward Salah, who won three of the year awards on Thursday -- two given to him by his club, and one by the

Salah, who has 43 goals for Liverpool this season, has been a little below his best lately, and is without a goal in three matches.

There is a sense that he is one who could do with a break, but there is little sign of him getting one, as he prepares to join up with his international squad for shortly after final.

While his goals have become less frequent, his fellow forwards have not entirely managed to plug the gap.

Having scored in all but one league match in the first three months of 2018, Liverpool have failed to find the net in three of their past five top-flight games.

Salah, though, always carries a threat, and has promised that he is in good shape to rediscover his best form as Klopp's side look to secure two wins that will turn a very good season into an unforgettable one.

"I've not scored for two games but I'm fine," Salah said.

"We have a game on Sunday then the and I'm sure we will help each other.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 12 2018. 10:17 IST