The Reds star admits it’s “over for the Premier League” but there is still a belief this season can end with silverware.
Liverpool’s poor domestic run of form has lasted two months now. In that time they’ve had two wins, three draws, and six losses in the league. They’ve also been knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United. The result of that is that they’re only realistically still competing to win one competition—the Champions League.
Given their form, they won’t be anything like favourites, but their one European game over the past two months was against RB Leipzig, and it resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Reds. It’s at least a sliver of a reason for hope, and for Liverpool star Sadio Mané it’s the clear priority now that their league title defence is finished.
“Our target from the beginning was Champions League and Premier League,” Mané told ESPN Brazil. “Now I can say it’s over for the Premier League because the gap is too much. In our heads we have self belief always and never want to give up, and we won’t give up, but Manchester City are a great team and they’re flying.
“So for sure, the top four right now is our main target—but the Champions League is our main, main target. To win it, which won’t be easy because you’re going to face the best teams in Europe, but we have beaten the best teams in Europe so we’re going to do everything to go for it and win the Champions League.”
At the moment, the Reds are rather dauntingly five points back of fourth place West Ham, three back of Chelsea in fifth, and level in sixth with an Everton side that still have a game in hand. Combine that with their form, and even the top four is looking an awfully tough task in what’s shaping up to be a disastrous domestic season.
For a club in that position, winning the Champions League would be something of a miracle—but a miracle requiring results to go their way over six games including the second leg against Leipzig, two more two-legged knockout rounds, and a final. Compared to the league situation, those almost sound like good odds.