After a terrible start to this campaign under Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish has really turned the ship around at Liverpool.
Since Kenny Dalglish was hired as Liverpool manager on January 19th, only Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United have picked up more points. Liverpool have shot up from the bottom half into 6th position heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
5 points above them is Tottenham Hotspur, sitting in the one Europa League spot the league offers this season. They face Arsenal midweek as they look to overtake Manchester City for a top 4 finish and Champions League qualification.
It was Manchester City on Monday night who Andy Carroll scored his first goals against for Liverpool as they breezed to a 3-0 victory. But would qualifying for next season’s Europa League benefit Liverpool? I don’t think so.
Europe’s Second Club Cup Competition
There’s not much, if any financial incentive for playing in UEFA’s second club cup competition. The difference between playing in that competition and not will have no impact on persuading players to join Liverpool in the summer. Liverpool are Liverpool – they can attract players regardless. Especially if they’re going to spend the money that is being rumoured.
What the Europa League would bring is a distraction. Extra games and midweek away days that would ultimately affect their domestic campaign and top 4 challenge. Champions League football is not available for next season. The reds should happily let their 4 rivals play in next season’s competition while their own squad remains fresh throughout. It will benefit them in the long run.
There is still several players in this squad that finished Premier League runners up in 2008/09. They’ve added a goalscoring threat in Andy Carroll, alongside one of the stars of the World Cup, Luiz Suarez. A player who has the potential to be one of the best in the world. A creator and a scorer, defenders should ignore him at their own peril.
Jose Reina remains in goal, while there are a couple of good young defenders on the books at Liverpool as well as midfielder Jay Spearing. They could certainly do with signing a centre back and a full back in the summer if they want to make a serious challenge for the top 4. Another winger would be handy too.
With Manchester United and Arsenal likely to continue where they’ve left off for endless years and maintain their top 4 finishes next season, Liverpool should be competing with Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur for a priceless Champions League spot. No, that wasn’t me taking this season’s current top 2 for granted; they are just superior than the chasing pack right now.
For a team that looked so woeful early this season, Liverpool fans have every reason to be enthusiastic about next season…