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Jurgen Klopp blames Premier League 'intensity' for clubs' UCL struggles

Craig Burley and Mark Donaldson predict how this year's top six will fare in the Premier League next season.

Jurgen Klopp has told kicker magazine that he believes the "war of attrition" in the Premier League is a reason for the lack of relative success in European competition.

There have only been two English sides in the semifinals of the Champions League in the past five seasons.

Before taking over as Liverpool manager in October 2015, Klopp wondered about the poor recent record, but says he can now fully understand the difficulty in juggling two demanding competitions.

"The way the league's perceived in Germany, and I wasn't any different, is that they don't get anything done in Europe," Klopp said. "But that's not because the players all of a sudden can't play or the coaches got worse.

"The real reason is: The competition is extremely wearing. I've not had one single easy match here, and have rarely seen out. Otto Rehhagel once said one of the greatest-ever things: Who always hopes for an easy match, will never get one. Who always expects a difficult match, will sometimes have one. It's like that.

"A war of attrition, competition, competition, competition with a long cup and more games in the league. It's very difficult to bring that in tune with the challenges in Europe given today's intensity.

"Here, the results are paramount and every team will do anything, and do not hold back in their methods. This means a fight for everything week in, week out. You need to get yourself into it."

Liverpool's push for the title this season, ultimately, collapsed due to six defeats against teams who, at the time, were in the bottom half of the table.

Klopp has been criticised for not having another tactical approach when facing sides who defend deep against Liverpool and look to punish on the counter-attack.

However, the Reds manager has defended the way he sets out his team, pointing at their league position and the number of goals scored.

"I am not the football Pope," he added. "It's a doctrine. The result stands above everything else.

Jurgen Klopp is on the verge of leading Liverpool back into the Champions League.

"We got used to how most opponents play against us. That's not a problem. But this doesn't mean that because of it we've changed our style that much. We still believe it's right what we do. It worked out often enough.

"We can't change this. [It] also means an image which was already there in Germany [that Klopp does not have a Plan B] is transported to England. It just doesn't affect us a bit because we have a thousand plans. We just need to live with it.

"Let's look at the goals. We scored 75 and conceded 42. Alongside Manchester City we've scored the second-most goals, but sadly conceded a lot.

"You can add another stat: We are rarely outplayed before goals. As a classic possession-based team, we concede goals after classic counters when losing the ball or from set pieces or, what is even worse, from second balls after set pieces.

"We are working on it. If it were that easy, it would not happen by now."

Liverpool need a win at home to already-relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday to guarantee a return to the Champions League next season, though they may have to negotiate the qualifying round to make the group stage.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.


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