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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

'Time is running out' for Liverpool to win a trophy but Klopp refuses to pin hopes on Uefa Champions League

Time may be running out on Jurgen Klopp's self-imposed four-year deadline to win a trophy as Liverpool manager, but the German has refused to say if the Uefa Champions League will accomplish his mission.

Liverpool are through to the Champions League semi-finals following a comprehensive 5-1 aggregate victory over runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.

With City all-but guaranteed the league title and Liverpool falling short in both domestic cup competitions - the League Cup and FA Cup - Europe's elite club competition offers Klopp his only chance of silverware this season.

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In his first season, Klopp guided Liverpool to the 2016 League Cup and Europa League finals, but the Merseyside club were defeated by City and Sevilla respectively.

"I said (at his unveiling as Liverpool manager) if I sit here in four years probably we won something, otherwise it's not possible," Klopp told reporters after the 2-1 second-leg victory over Pep Guardiola's team on Tuesday.

"It's now two and a half years and I still haven't won anything so time is running."

Klopp, who guided Borussia Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final where they lost to rivals Bayern Munich, said it is far too early to claim Liverpool can be the equals of European giants Bayern and Real Madrid.

Bayern and Madrid are potential semi-final opponents should they come through their quarter-finals unscathed on Wednesday. And a huge obstacle to all the teams' chances of lifting the trophy was removed on Tuesday with Roma's dismantling of Barcelona.

"I have absolutely no interest in comparing us. Barca, Bayern, Real Madrid they win everything in the past 20 years," Klopp said. "You don't become a winner overnight."

Liverpool do have a rich European Cup history, winning the trophy five times, most recently with the memorable comeback in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul, although the Italians gained revenge in the final two years later.

Klopp said his side are still a work in progress. A big step in that direction has come with his decision to outlay a world record fee for a defender to acquire Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman has added much-needed defensive solidity, despite his error leading to City's goal on Tuesday.

"We can only develop," Klopp said. "This competition is unbelievably strong. I don't care who is in (the draw), we are there and we deserved it and so far we fought for each opportunity to get it and then used it. That's what we will do (in the semis) but the other sides are not without their ambitions."