Liverpool’s fight for a top four finish will go down to the wire today as they host Middlesbrough in a season-defining game.
Three points against an already relegated side are all that stands between Jurgen Klopp’s men and a place in next season’s Champions League. Seems simple, yet everyone affiliated with the club will know it will be far from it.
Middlesbrough’s inevitably defensive approach means they represent the kind of opponent the Reds have seemingly found difficult to break down at home in recent months. It has the makings to be a nervy Anfield affair but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet claims his team works well under pressure.
“It’s one game, 90 minutes of football where we have to win,” Mignolet told Premier League Productions, as quoted by Liverpoolfc.com.
“Every week is pressure and we relish that pressure. Everybody wants to do that, as a football player you want to be involved in big games for big clubs where you play for certain things.”
“Everybody in the dressing room knows how much we’ve been fighting for this throughout the season. Before the season, everybody was speaking about the objective of top four and we knew how big the competition was going to be.”
“We’re in a good position with everything in our own hands with one game to go. Why not use this opportunity to get this top-four spot?”
Bringing European football back to Anfield is something this club needs and something that would mark significant progress in what Klopp has outlined as his long-term project at Liverpool.
One final 90 minutes of hard work, concentration and bravery is needed for this team to take a step towards a potentially special period and one in which it can reestablish itself as consistent competitors at the top of the Premier League.
Such desire to simply secure a top four spot has been shunned by many but it is what this club has been left to play for and something that could well open a number of doors for the Reds.
It’s in our hands, so, as Mignolet says, why not make the most of it?