Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been commenting on the battle with West Ham United for a Champions League spot.
West Ham are enjoying their best season for 35 years and sit fourth in the table with 12 games to play.
It means David Moyes’s side are right in the mix for European football.
One club West Ham did not expect to be competing with for one of those spots is reigning champions Liverpool.
High-flying Hammers taking advantage of Liverpool struggles
Injuries mean Klopp’s side are struggling to hit the same heights this season.
And that has opened the door for West Ham.
Liverpool could go above the Hammers tonight when they take on fellow top four rivals Chelsea.
Whatever the result, West Ham will drop down a place – and possibly two if Everton win at West Brom.
But with Man City favourites to win the Champions League, fifth place could end up being enough to qualify for Europe’s top competition anyway.
Indeed the same is true if either Chelsea or Liverpool finish top four and win the Champions League.
West Ham’s closest rivals in the race for Europe all play twice between now and Monday night’s next match against Leeds.
Klopp says West Ham are serious contenders for Champions League spots
But victory over Marcelo Bielsa’s side could be enough to reclaim fourth spot.
Now, though, the mind games have started as rival managers realise West Ham are the real deal.
Yesterday Spurs boss Jose Mourinho changed his tune when commenting on the battle with West Ham for the top four – read full story here.
Now Klopp has had his say, telling Liverpool’s official Youtube channel that West Ham are very much in the mix.
“There are other teams (as well as Chelsea) – West Ham, Tottenham will come again,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official Youtube channel when asked about the race for the top four.
“And, of course, Leicester. United are not really involved, I’m not sure. And City are already gone.
“For the neutral fan it is exciting, for Liverpool supporters it is exciting as well – but maybe not in the way he wants. But we will give it a proper try.”
‘Give it a try’. Pull the other one Jurgen.
Klopp and Jose playing down their chances and bigging up West Ham but fooling nobody
The Liverpool boss has followed in Mourinho’s footsteps by playing down his side’s top four chances.
Yes Liverpool have had serious injury issues. But his squad boasts two of the best forwards in world football and is packed with quality.
West Ham have a brilliant team ethic and some excellent players. But on paper the Hammers have no right to be competing with Liverpool for Champions League football.
Klopp and Mourinho are clearly trying to alleviate the pressure on their players and shift it onto West Ham.
But Moyes and his players must block out the noise and just focus on each of their remaining 12 games.
Looking at previous Premier League seasons over the last 25 years, an average of 68 points are needed to qualify for the Champions League.
That will be less this year IF a club in the top four wins the Champions League and pushes the qualifying spot down to fifth place.
Realistically West Ham need to find another six or seven wins and a couple of draws.
That has to start with the game against Leeds on Monday night.