Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has rubbished suggestions that his side will challenge for a top four position in the Premier League.
Liverpool sit in fifth place, but are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who also have one game in hand on their north-west rivals.
Newcastle sit in third place and have a nine-point cushion ahead of Liverpool, but are equal on games played (33).
With relatively favourable fixtures drawing Liverpool’s season to a close, Klopp was questioned by BBC Sport whether he considers a top four finish as a genuine possibility.
The German, in usual fashion, snappily retorted:
“Of course not. If United and Newcastle wins (sic) all the games then how can we get there?
“If they start losing them we are close. Until then we have to win football games to qualify for Europe at all.”
His closing statement raises a valid point as Liverpool still have to face Aston Villa, the second most in-form team in England, at the end of this month.
Unai Emery’s team are hot on Liverpool’s heels, with only two points separating the sides.
Both United and Newcastle have a reasonable chance of ending the season on a positive note with the majority of their remaining opponents being bottom-half sides.
United do, however, play Brighton and Hove Albion – fresh from an astonishing 6-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend – on Thursday evening.
Brighton are currently four points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and 11 points behind United with one game in hand.