When Liverpool won the league in 1990, little did they know that that would be the last time in a very long while that they would savor the delight of winning England’s biggest domestic prize.
And despite lifting other trophies; the UEFA Cup, the League and FA Cups as well as the Champions League in 2005, the league, known these days as the English Premier League, has eluded them.
They have fluctuated between regaining what used be their right and access to the top four and slipping into the debilitating doldrums of mid-table mediocrity.
And so with their recent victory over bitter rivals, Manchester United in the second round of the Europa league with a 3-1 aggregate win, talks of going all the way to the trophy, though mooted in hushed tones, would represent significant progress under manager, Jurgen Klopp and present them with a happily direct route to the Champions League.
Over the two legs of the last 16 clash, the Reds played with a zest and desire that the heroes of their domestic dominance of yester-years would certainly identify with and applaud.
On the other hand, Manchester United were anaemic, their manager, a befuddled touchline presence whose tactical tweaks and formations showed a man that had no grip on what shape his team should take to tame the fiery Reds.
Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge scored at Anfield, with the outstanding David De Gea the impregnable barrier that stood between the Red Devils and a humiliating concession of goals.
A respectable draw at Old Trafford did little to diminish the impact of Liverpool’s first leg efforts, guaranteeing them passage into the Quarter finals of UEFA’s second tier competition.
But what would happen if Liverpool do a repeat of Chelsea’s barnstorming run to the Champions League trophy in 2012 despite been out of Champions League spots domestically?
“The UEFA Europa League winners will be entered in the UEFA Champions League (at a minimum level of the play-offs).”
The article continues,
“The UEFA Europa League winners will be elevated into the group stage if the UEFA Champions League winners qualify directly for the UEFA Champions League group stage via their domestic league programme – something which has happened last season to the benefit of Sevilla, and indeed every year since the turn of the century bar 2005, 2007 and 2012.”
Furthermore, the article clarifies,
“Regarding the top three associations (i.e. Spain, Germany and England*): if two clubs from one of these countries win the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and neither finish their domestic league in a position that qualifies them for the UEFA Champions League (something distinctly possible in England with Manchester City and Liverpool), the following will happen:
– The club that won the UEFA Champions League will go straight into the group stage
– The UEFA Europa League winners will go into the UEFA Champions League play-offs
– The club that had qualified for a UEFA Champions League play-off spot via their domestic league competition (i.e. finished fourth) will transfer into the UEFA Europa League.”
Although a number of tricky opponents still lie in wait, the prospect of gaining entry into the Champions League via winning the Europa League would be a mouth-watering, adrenaline-pumping prospect, the import of which the charismatic Jurgen Klopp would be keen to knock into his players.
Liverpool has forged a reputation over the last couple of decades as cup specialists and you’d be hard-pressed to bet against them going all the way to the final and possibly winning the trophy. It’d be something truly special for the Kop Army.