Jurgen Klopp was eager to stress that the job is still not yet done, despite Liverpool edging closer to a top-four finish with a 3-0 win at Burnley on Wednesday night.
The Reds gained a big advantage in the top-four race as they followed up Leicester‘s 2-1 loss at Chelsea with a 3-0 victory away to Burnley.
Roberto Firmino, Nat Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were the scorers, with the win seeing Liverpool leapfrog the Foxes into fourth with one game left to play.
That comes against Crystal Palace, in front of 10,000 fans at Anfield, and speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp made it clear he is not counting his chickens before they hatch.
“I knew this season is, for us, an incredibly tough, tough, tough season,” he told reporters.
“I heard Valentine’s Day was the last time we were in the top four, because we didn’t win a lot of games since then.
“But now in the last eight, 10 games we are back on track.
“If we win on Sunday, then probably – it depends on the result of Leicester or Chelsea – we are qualified for the Champions League.
“It’s insane that we came that close, but we are not through.
“So when you win the semi-final, then you go to the final. That’s where we are, and we will give our absolute everything to win that as well.”
Klopp was asked about the influence of Phillips, who not only scored but made a goal-saving clearance on the line at the other end, but he was keen to wait until showering his centre-back with praise.
“I love the boy, he knows that,” the manager said.
“If we really make it, or not, whatever – let’s talk after the Crystal Palace game.
“Just let’s finish this season and if you want I’ll write a book about both boys, about Nat and about Rhys. It’s no problem.
“But let’s please play this game and let the boys stay focused, let them recover and all these kinds of things.
“Then we can talk about that. I promise you I’ll answer your question for an hour!”
Phillips is expected to start alongside Rhys Williams again on the final day against Palace, with victory effectively guaranteeing a place in the top four – and perhaps even as high as third.