Liverpool missed out on Champions League qualification last season despite a late-season surge. However, a solid start to this season has put them in a strong position to make the top four at the end of this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men are considered title contenders and will push Manchester City all the way.
Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, has played down his team’s chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season, claiming Chelsea hold a massive advantage over the Reds in the race for a top-four finish this season.
Jurgen Klopp explains Chelsea’s “massive advantage” over Liverpool
Chelsea have endured a tough start to the new Premier League season, picking up just five points from six Premier League games. They are already 13 points behind league leaders Manchester City, who continue their title defense with 18 points from six games.
Liverpool holds an 11-point advantage over the Blues. Still, despite this, Jurgen Klopp claims Pochettino’s men hold a “massive advantage” over his Liverpool side as far as Champions League qualification is concerned. “Two heavyweights not in European football, having the whole week to train when others travel. It’s a massive advantage,” the German coach said.
Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League last season, thereby missing out on Champions League football, the competition they won as recently as 2021 when they beat Manchester City in the final. Chelsea chopped and changed managers to try to save the season, parting ways with Thomas Tuchel and his successor Graham Potter before hiring Frank Lampard in the interim until the end of the season.
Things did not go well for Tottenham either, as they finished 8th in the table, 11 points behind Newcastle, who occupied the last UCL spot in the Premier League. However, unlike Chelsea, Tottenham have started this season strongly under new manager Ange Postecoglou, who led them to four wins and two draws in their opening six Premier League games.
Can Liverpool qualify for UCL despite fifth-place finish and Europa League loss?
Liverpool are flying high in the league this season and may qualify for next season’s UCL even if they finish fifth in the league and do not enjoy success in the Europa League. UEFA has expanded the number of teams that can compete in the continental competition from 32 to 36, starting next season, and Liverpool could benefit from this new format.
According to the new rule, two of these four additional spots will go to teams whose countries perform outstandingly in European competitions. For example, Manchester City win the Champions League again, and another English team goes very deep in the Europa League; the fifth-placed team in the Premier League will qualify for the UCL the following season rather than playing in the Europa League.
Of course, the Reds have several ways of qualifying for the UCL next season. They either do that by finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League. However, if they fail to do any of these two, the new rule could help them as long as they finish fifth in the Premier League.
Can Liverpool challenge Manchester City for the title this season? Tell us your predictions in the comments.