Jurgen Klopp can help convince top transfer targets to sign for Liverpool even if they are not in the Champions League next season, according to former Reds striker Ian Rush.

Liverpool have won their last seven games and currently sit fifth, just a point behind Newcastle and Manchester United, who both have matches in hand.

However, even if Liverpool can continue their impressive run and beat Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday and then finish the campaign with another victory at relegated Southampton, there would be no guarantee of Champions League football again.

There is set to be a turnover of personnel this summer, with the likes of James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino all leaving

Brighton’s Argentinian World Cup-winner Alexis Mac Allister is one potential transfer target, as well as Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Ryan Gravenberch at Bayern Munich.

Rush feels even if Liverpool do end up not being able to offer Champions League football next season, Reds boss Klopp will still be able to sell a switch to Anfield.

“They had a bit of a lapse, every team has one. To win seven games on the run is like they are back to where they were when they won the league,” Rush told the PA news agency.

“Whether they get the Champions League spot or not, that is a different matter, but all Liverpool can do is win their next two games. If they do, they finish the season on a high.

“If you end up in the Europa League and can go on to win it, then you are going to be back in the Champions League.

“If you don’t make the Champions League, then you go and look to improve the team through the summer.

“I am sure Liverpool will want to do that. You have got to sign players to keep everyone on their toes.”

Rush, who is supporting Soccer Aid for UNICEF, added: “When you are signing players, it does help when your team is in the Champions League, because all the top players want to play there.

“Klopp, though, is a fantastic manager and he is in a position to change a player’s mind.

“He can say ‘listen, you want to come to Liverpool and while you will not be in the Champions League this year, we want to make you a superstar for all these fantastic fans and build a team around you’.

“He did that exactly when you look at (Virgil) Van Dijk – he could have gone to Chelsea and Manchester City were interested, but Klopp sold Liverpool to him. That is what Klopp is good at.”

While Liverpool remain in the hunt to qualify for the Champions League – a competition they won in 2019 and finished runners-up in last year – they have fallen well behind in the title race this season.

But despite a current 20-point gap to leaders Manchester City – who have overhauled Arsenal and look set to win the title for a fifth time in the past six seasons – Rush is confident the Reds can recover to mount a serious challenge once more.

“I think it is breachable,” said Rush, Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer with 346 goals in 660 appearances during a trophy-laden career.

“Liverpool have got a strong squad. It is about keeping everyone fit and I am sure they will make some additions.

“Then at the start of the new season, if everyone is well, then I am sure Manchester City will be keeping an eye on Liverpool as one of the danger teams and they will be in the mix.”

This year’s Soccer Aid event will take place on June 11 at Old Trafford and Rush is expecting another memorable occasion.

“It is for a great cause and everyone is competitive. It doesn’t matter whatever they do – actors or ex-players – all they want is for the team to win,” the former Wales striker said.

:: Tickets for Soccer Aid For UNICEF on Sunday 11th June 2023 at Old Trafford, are on sale via www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 — two adults and two children

Pele is the greatest of all time for Peter Reid, though the former England midfielder knows there is not much to choose between the Brazil legend, Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi.

Argentina's World Cup success in Qatar has surely cemented Messi's place as the greatest player of his generation, though whether the 35-year-old will go down as the best of ever is open for debate.

Messi has now matched his late compatriot Maradona in dragging Argentina to World Cup glory, with the late, great former captain lifting the trophy at Mexico 1986.

Reid played for England against Argentina in the famous 'Hand of God' game in that tournament and was left in Maradona's wake for the mercurial number 10's second goal of the match, which has been immortalised as 'The Goal of the Century'.

Reid, though, quipped Pele – a winner of three World Cups – was his pick.

"Erm, Pele," Reid joked when asked by Stats Perform who was the best out of Messi and Maradona. "They're all icons of the game."


Reid is pleased to see Messi finally get his hands on the only trophy that had been missing from his collection.

"Yeah, I think he's been an absolutely outstanding footballer and it was the one major trophy that he hadn't won, and I think he's a credit to himself on the park and off the park," he said.

He added of the tournament: "I thought there was some great games, I thought the best team won it and I still don't know the penalty rule. I haven't got a clue what a penalty is these days, but I did enjoy it, I've got to say."

It was a similar story for Liverpool great Ian Rush, who enjoyed his experience in Qatar supporting Wales.

"I was out there and from a Welsh point of view it was a privilege to be there, 1958 was last time we qualified so no matter where the World Cup was going to be, I was going to be there because it's the first time I have gotten the chance to see Wales playing at the World Cup," Rush told Stats Perform.

"But I enjoyed it and I really enjoyed the World Cup out there. The people were very friendly. It's the icing on the cake for Messi to get his hands on the World Cup."

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