Why Liverpool are the team to beat in the Europa League

Jürgen Klopp said at the beginning of the season that Liverpool will not take the UEFA Europa League for granted.

He walked his talk. The Reds got a bye to the round of 16 as a result of their incredible group stage performance. Their goal difference was only bettered by Slavia Prague and Bayer Leverkusen.

Now, they will try to win the Europa League, which escaped them back in Klopp’s first season. The poetic nature of their Europa League run is also not lost on most.

This is why they will be the team to beat in this season’s competition.

All for Jürgen Klopp

In January, Klopp announced that he would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season. The German cited fatigue as his reason for calling it quits with the club.

Speaking back in January, Klopp said: “I love absolutely everything about this club, I love everything about the city, I love everything about our supporters, I love the team, I love the staff. I love everything. But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take.”

“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now. I knew it already for longer that I would have to announce it at one point, but I am fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”

He will be leaving as one of Liverpool’s most successful managers despite the challenges (Manchester City dominance) he faced. The players have made peace with his decision and have channeled their energy to see him off with even more trophies.

They have delivered the EFL (Carabao) Cup and still have three more to go: the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Europa League. Not even the injuries to 12 of their key players is deterring the team. They stuttered a little in the competition thanks to injuries and fatigue, but are now back to being top favourites for the competition.

By the end of the season, Klopp will sign out of Merseyside a happy man. A European title is going to be the icing on the cake.

Liverpool vs Sparta Prague: Easy pickings for Champions League stalwarts

Liverpool were drawn against a team that is no stranger to European nights, Sparta Prague from Czechia.

The Czech First League defending champions and current league leaders have a big responsibility on their hands. The problem is that they have an abysmal record against teams from England.

Time and again, they have failed to scale past any English opponent, and facing a European behemoth like Liverpool in a knockout game does not hold too much promise for them.

The Reds are also flying high at the moment thanks to their Carabao Cup win. They are league leaders and have progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a dominant performance despite playing a third-string side.

Between 7 and 14 March 2024, the Reds are going to be in another quarter-final simply because they are too good for what Sparta Prague has to offer. Liverpool tickets are selling fast ahead of that highly-anticipated clash.

The game will not be an easy one for them, however. It is important to remember the long injury list that Klopp is having to deal with during this stretch of the season. In the past few weeks, the German tactician has fielded more academy players than he has ever done in his nine years at the club. Sparta can make life difficult for the Reds as a result of this.

In the end, however, Liverpool will take the quarter-final ticket and go on to set themselves up for another European title under Klopp.

Tickets for the Liverpool vs Sparta Prague games are available on seatsnet.com.

No Salah? Big motivation

One of the players on Liverpool’s injury list is Mohamed Salah.

For seven years of Klopp’s nine at Anfield, the Egyptian has been the absolute best player that the German has deployed. This has also made him one of the best players in England and in the world in that time.

He has constantly delivered an average of 25 goal contributions every season in all competitions and is currently the most valuable right winger in the world at 31. His efforts this season helped Liverpool stay in contention for English football’s first-ever quadruple up until he picked up an injury playing for his nation at the January 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.

He came back for a while and showed them what they missed, before relapsing and going on a forced extended leave. Since then, the Reds have had to pull rabbits out of hats with no Salah to make the magical look normal.

Many fans and pundits are already predicting that Sarah’s injury in particular will affect Klopp’s team in the Europa League. The German does not even have to pass these sentiments across to the rest of the team to get the message.

They will want to show that Liverpool is more than a single player, even if that player is the best in the world in his position.

Only one real threat: Bayer Leverkusen

West Ham United, AS Roma, Villarreal, and AC Milan are still in the competition but only Bayer 04 Leverkusen will worry Liverpool.

Led by former Reds’ midfield maestro Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen is the only unbeaten team in Europe this season. They are playing the most efficient football in the world at the moment and they are also lucky enough to have all but three of their players out for the Europa League.

A match between them and Liverpool is worthy of being the final of the competition. However, it is hard to see the Reds falling to Leverkusen, whose inexperience tends to sleep through quite often.

All are primed for Klopp to lift another European trophy this season, even with the threat of Leverkusen.