Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes it is "almost impossible" for them to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Premier League title holders are five points off the top four, having won just two out of their last eight top-flight matches.
The club sit sixth, which may be good enough for Europa League qualification, depending on the outcome of the FA Cup and League Cup, but Klopp says their rivals may be playing too well to catch.
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"I like to be an optimist, but in the league it is almost impossible to qualify in the competition for the Champions League places that we have," Klopp told German newspaper Bild.
"At Tottenham, Gareth Bale is now playing again, and they are also in the running. Plus (Manchester) City and United, who are far away.
"Chelsea is on the rise. Reaching Champions League qualification through the league will be difficult, we know that."
Liverpool have spent the majority of their season without first choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez and have also dealt with a long period without key midfielders Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson, who have both had to drop back to defence when they have been fit.
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"You don't usually win the Champions League itself in a year with injury worries as big as we have," Klopp said, knowing the impact not qualifying could have on the club..
"Then in the worst case it will be next year: no Champions League, maybe Europa League, although that is not guaranteed either.
It would mean a huge financial loss. I am aware, in almost all football clubs in the world, I would be questioned in a situation like our current one.
"This is completely normal, reality, the business. I would accept that immediately.
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"But it's different here in Liverpool. Our owners, the sports director, even the players, nobody doubts anyone here. We have accepted the situation for ourselves and fight our way through it.
"If we don't play internationally at all, that means more time to relax. That would be bad for all other teams because training is good for us.
"If we had more time, we could take advantage of it. We would try to turn the bad situation into something good."
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