Getting out of Europa League – a boon for Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers got the kops jumping for joy when the last season ended. This is notwithstanding the fact that Liverpool blew the chance of winning the league after many years.

The grimness of not winning the title was dumped beneath the joy of regaining the anointed place in Europe. Rodgers won accolades for leading them back to Europe and the optimism is back in full swing for the 2014-15 season.

But, the joy was short lived. The journey back to Champions League was cut short by a tough draw followed by failure to qualify for last-16. If it was any consolation, Liverpool qualified for Europa League. All of a sudden, there was talk of Liverpool going all the way and win the Europa League.

Again, the joy was short lived. Over two legs, facing tricky Turkish opponent Besiktas, Liverpool got knocked out of Europa League. Besiktas is not a mere pushover; definitely not against English opponents this season.

Besiktas faced three Premier League sides already at Ataturk. And, they have not conceded a goal. The Ataturk is not quite as intimidating as the Anfield but the atmosphere is still vastly intimidating. Turkish opponents are always a banana peep for English teams; a quick check with the old enemy Sir Alex Ferguson will testify that argument.

It should not take anything away from Besiktas. The Slaven Bilic managed team exceeded the expectations and took the game away from Liverpool. And the worry among supporters was that the long trip could have ended up draining the players who will face champions Manchester City on Sunday noon.

However, the knock-out punch may prove to be just the tonic for Liverpool. The Reds come into their game against Manchester City on the back of an impressive run in the Premier League. The last loss in the league was to bitter enemies Manchester United way back in December.

The impressive run after that demoralizing loss, parachuted Liverpool back to Champions League qualification places. Well, not quite literally. They are knocking on the doors and on current form, look well set to pack a punch.

If the team can see positives out of the loss at Besiktas, it can only improve the chances of the team to qualify for Champions League next season. With no chances of winning the Europa League and qualifying for Champions League, the only realistic chance of retaining their place in Europe is to finish in the top four.

The prospect of facing City with very little rest right after a grueling trip to Turkey is intimidating in itself. But, the players will have time to tune their minds back on the Premier League.

If they can get things right, it could prove to be a boon in the making. Starting with City, if Liverpool can get their sights on notching more wins, there would be no stopping the reds from making the Champions League next season. And, that could just be the ideal riposte to the loss at Besiktas.


Leave a Reply