London (AFP) – Georginio Wijnaldum says Liverpool can only save their season by winning the Champions League following the collapse of their Premier League title defence.
Jurgen Klopp’s men, who face RB Leipzig in the second leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday, are favourites to progress after winning the first leg 2-0.
But there are major questions over their confidence following a run of six successive home defeats in the Premier League.
Klopp’s side, top of the table at Christmas, have slipped to eighth and look unlikely to finish in the top four.
Wednesday’s Champions League “home” tie, taking place in Budapest instead of at Anfield due to coronavirus travel restrictions, could provide a useful distraction.
But Dutch international Wijnaldum said the season would only be saved if Liverpool were crowned European champions for a seventh time.
“Of course the Champions League can rescue this season but I think a lot of people only say it is rescued if you win the Champions League and everyone knows how difficult it is,” he said.
“I think there is always pressure when you play for a club like Liverpool and you have the results that we have had now. There will be a pressure to bounce back and show we can do better.
“We want to do better but we have to show it. It has hit us hard. Definitely, everyone can see it.”
Wijnaldum, who won the 2019 Champions League with Liverpool, said confidence had dipped.
“We were used to winning games and winning trophies and now it is the opposite, the confidence is less than the previous years but that is because it is a totally different situation we are in right now,” he said.
“We feel really bad. The way we deal with situations during games was really bad.”
Wijnaldum is in the final few months of his contract at Anfield, with no new deal firmed up.
The midfielder, 30, has long been linked with Barcelona and a reunion with his former national team boss Ronald Koeman.
“I am really happy at the club, really happy with the team and the staff and really happy with the fans for whom I play,” he said.
“It is not that I am not happy and I have to leave but it is not that easy as everyone thinks it is to make some decisions for your future.”
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