Now that Liverpool know who they are set to face in the Group Stages of UEFA Europa League, there are many who believe Jurgen Klopp’s men have a very good chance of going all the way.
The Reds have been handed a draw that would look very kind on paper, with Toulouse, Union Saint-Gilloise, and LASK being their Group E opponents. They are teams most will feel that the Premier League outfit should be able to overcome with ease, although most will also recognize each game will be like a cup final for the others involved.
Fans will believe that the team should still be able to field a weaker side than the one that will compete in the league campaign and still be able to get six wins from six, despite the fact that there are no easy games in European football. For instance, it would not be a surprise if we saw Jurgen Klopp opt not to use Mohamed Salah from the start of each match and only look to use the Egyptian star when required to make a difference or in the latter stages of the competition.
The latter stages might pose issues
While it would not be a shock if the Reds were to be able to coast through Group E, there may be some that may feel that the next stage of the competition could pose some problems for the squad.
The next phase would see teams from the UEFA Champions League enter the competition that were knocked out after finishing third in their respective group. With surprises often happening, we could see some huge sides enter at this stage, which could create issues.
Squad depth is perhaps another issue that might rear its ugly head later in the season, especially if positions are not addressed in the January transfer window, and injuries happen during the festive period that prove costly.
Of course, those are issues that can not always be foreseen and may be unpredictable at the moment. It is something that the Anfield outfit will not consider until they ultimately have to. It certainly appears to be something sportsbooks are not too concerned with worrying about at the moment, either. Liverpool is the clear frontrunner in the soccer betting odds available for the outright winner of the 2023/24 Europa League tournament this season, with fellow Premier League competitors Brighton and Hove Albion considered second favorites.
Liverpool’s history in the competition
Since the formation of the tournament, Liverpool have been able to win it on three occasions. They won it in 1972/73, 1975/76, and 2000/01 when it was formerly known as the UEFA Cup. The Reds have also featured in a fourth final (2015/16), but were beaten 3-1 by Sevilla – a side that are the current record holders with the most titles (seven).
It is not a tournament that Klopp’s side would have wanted to have been in, as the UCL would have been the priority, but it gives them another chance of being able to add more European silverware to their trophy cabinet. And, if the bookies have it right, it would seem very unlikely that anyone is going to stop that from happening.
If the Reds do manage to make it a fourth title in their fifth final appearance – which will take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin – then they will be able to secure a return to the Champions League without having to worry about their final Premier League position.
Will Liverpool focus on the UEL?
With that in mind, some might question whether Liverpool will focus on the European tournament or look to qualify for the UCL by finishing in the top four of the domestic league. It would not be a surprise if they were to focus on everything equally being the professionals that they are, and the start of the league campaign would not suggest otherwise.
They are currently unbeaten after the first four games, and the 2-1 comeback win against Newcastle United when down to 10 men showed just how ready they are to compete once again after a rather poor campaign that left a lot to be desired, despite qualification for the Europa League.
If Klopp’s side continues to build on the momentum that they have already created so far, who knows just how far they will go this year!