The Europa League: A Pot Worth Winning

Giving the Europa League a go seems prudent

Despite its status as England’s less prestigious domestic cup, Sir Alex Ferguson still called the League Cup “a pot worth winning.” That’s how I feel about Europe’s secondary club competition. Despite the Thursday-Sunday grind, Liverpool should still take the Europa League seriously.

READ MORE: The Curious Case of Gaffer Gerrard by Chris Hallenbrook
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Much was written about Liverpool having the smallest squad in the Premier League this summer. That hasn’t changed. Therefore, it would be understandable if some are tempted to blow off the Europa League.

The Dreaded Thursday-Sunday

That aforementioned grind, especially if we have to travel to Eastern Europe (or God forbid Kazakhstan) in the knockout rounds, does present an injury risk. But to be fair, all games do. Players need to play and these players need to maintain their chemistry.

Mac Allister and Szoboszlai are already clicking together. But there are so many new midfielders, including Endo and Gravenberch, that need real minutes together to ensure that they can function as a cohesive unit.

ASTV: The Midfield Evolution

Then we have youngsters Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Stefan Bajcetic all looking to further their development. All are necessary for this team to challenge for the top four as well as silverware. But they can’t grow from the bench. Meaningful minutes with our EPL first XI is the proper prescription for their growth. Cup games will help with that, but Europe is an even better testing ground.

Champions League Backdoor

This competition is also an important source of revenue for the club. When challenging rivals where money is no object – City, Newcastle, Chelsea, the Saudi Pro League – every Euro counts. It lacks the nine-figure riches of the UCL, but it is not nothing. The €8,600,000 sum for the victor seems like chump change in modern football, but that along with matchday revenues is better to have than to not have. Every dollar, pound, and Euro helps when battling oil wells and billionaires drunk on “unlocking value.”



Also, winning the Europa League is a “backdoor” back to the Champions League. I’m bullish on our prospects of a top-four finish. Don’t get me wrong. But West Ham looks like they’ll have a strong season and Spurs are revitalized. This makes the chase still half a dozen strong even if Man U and Chelsea continue to flounder.

This Plan B is a great ace up our sleeve, especially as the Saudi League’s contract offers make European football more important than ever for player retention. So let’s go for it…with a sensible squad rotation of course. Approach the Europa League as proper European football and the home fixtures as those famous European nights at Anfield. It is a pot worth winning after all!

Liverpool's early morning woes… the 4-2-4, attacking options, the CDM dilemma, and more are on the table on this week's podcast
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  3. Cruise Control
  4. Darwin Awards
  5. Endo Time
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