When Liverpool could not secure a Top 4 finish during the 2022-23 season there was no shortage of crestfallen folks following the club and around the club. Playing European football on Thursday nights is not the most glamorous of settings, but it is not the punishment some presume it to be.
Of course it’s not the Champions League. You don’t need to be a detective to see the financial repercussions from Liverpool missing out on the premier club competition in the world.
Significant money has been lost as will the opportunity to play the absolute best teams in Europe. However, that does not mean that the Reds should approach the Europa League as if it is a throwaway competition.
During his tenure, Jurgen Klopp has not so subtly fielded much weaker squads in both the Carabao and FA Cups.
The early indications are that he and the club will be taking it very serious. The squad list for UEFA yielded mostly every marquee player on Liverpool’s squad.
A frustration arises when there are calls for the club to field much weaker Starting XI’s in an effort to make life easier for themselves in the Premier League. While I can somewhat get behind the logic of this, at the same time, there will never be a Liverpool match that I would be happy to see them lose.
It’s just not in my makeup as a fan nor should something like that be entertained at the club level. Klopp has taken 8 years to cultivate a positive winning culture at Anfield.
The lads have reached great heights as a result of this. That is something that should be applauded and many clubs have tried and failed to replicate this concept at their own clubs.
If Liverpool can make a deep run in this years Europa League I am willing to bet those calling for defeats in September will be some of the first ones celebrating a possible win in May. That’s how this works. In the moment, it’s easy to have the singular focus of the Premier League and nothing else.
However, there is more football in the world beyond that. Yes, it is of course the greatest league in the world but a club of Liverpool’s stature should aspire to win every single trophy on offer.
The Europa League is not a punishment. It’s a reality. It’s a chance for fans to support the club they love and for its players to be challenged in ways they would not normally be challenged.
It’s a sign of how far the club has come we think of this as a punishment. We must look at it for what it is, a European possibility.