From the moment it looked as though Liverpool might actually be in with a shout of qualifying for the Europa League, I have heard countless debates about whether it is a competition we want to be in.
The argument for missing out is simple, if Champions League qualification is to be a realistic target for next season then playing regularly on a Thursday for the entire season will massively harm our chances. The competition does not have anywhere near the financial benefits nor the prestige of Europe’s top club competition and will, in the end, be an unwelcome distraction.
The counter argument is the Liverpool MUST be in Europe, they MUST be aiming as high as possible, which this season IS the Europa league, and MUST aim for as many trophies as they can. I think anything less will be both disrespectful to the fans and to their profession.
With a busy transfer window expected for the reds and a number of problem positions being filled, there may also be a lot less opportunity for the likes of Spearing, Flanagan, Robinson, Sterling, Coady and Morgan. These are all players showing real potential and with regular first team football look set to become stars of the future. If these players were playing every other week, alongside the likes of Lucas, Kuyt, Skrtel etc then I can only see this being beneficial to all of these young talents and more importantly the club.
In any case, whatever the feeling of the fans as to whether they should or shouldn’t go for the Europa league, I can’t see for one single second that Kenny Dalglish will accept settling for 6th to get mid-weeks off and he will definitely not allow his players to adopt this attitude. Jamie Carragher demonstrated the right attitude this morning:
“I know there is a lot of talk about whether people want us to finish fifth but, for me, Liverpool is European football. That’s what the club is about, and I’m desperate for us to get it. It is another trophy to go for. I’d have loved to have been in Dublin (for this season’s final) in a couple of weeks – that would have been fantastic for us and fantastic for the supporters. If we keep winning games, we’ve got a good chance of qualifying, but Tottenham will probably feel the same, and I think (the Spurs game on May 15) will be a great game now. It is important for the team to keep winning and maintain the feel-good factor. It hasn’t been a great 18 months really for the club, it has been tough. Now, though, we can start to enjoy ourselves and go into games expecting to win.”
In my opinion, Liverpool will qualify for the Europa league next season but more importantly I WANT them to, after all, a trophy is still a trophy and we are LFC! What do you think?
Dan Ayres writes regularly for Football FanCast.com
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