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Are Liverpool the heavy favourites to win the Europa League this season?

By on September 20, 2023

jurgen klopp liverpool

Liverpool were consistently managing to qualify for the Champions League in the last six consecutive years under Jurgen Klopp’s guidance. But, after enduring a dire campaign last term and finishing fifth in the Premier League table, they have failed to secure their place in Europe’s elite club competition and are now forced to compete in the Europa League this season.

The Merseyside club identified the ageing midfield was the main issue behind their downfall last season so they decided to revamp the engine room this summer.

Summer reinforcements

They have purchased Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch after letting Naby Keita, Alex Olexlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho leave the club.

After a pretty successful transfer window, Liverpool have enjoyed a promising start to this season in the Premier League, winning four of the first five games, and sitting third in the league. So, it is expected that Liverpool are going to bounce back immediately this season and will challenge on all fronts.

Premier League clubs are currently one of the richest teams around the world and Liverpool aren’t an exception to that. So, given the financial resources they have at the moment, they are expected to challenge for the big prizes in Europe.

In addition to that, the advantage Liverpool currently have is Klopp. The German is deemed one of the best managers in the world after Pep Guardiola so Liverpool are always likely to challenge in every competition that they are competing in. Therefore, Liverpool are certainly a firm favourite to win the Europa League this season.

Other potential favourites

However, despite English clubs’ recent dominance on the European stage, La Liga clubs have always showcased that they are a force to be reckoned with in European competitions.

Sevilla are the defending champions of this tournament as a consequence of that, they have managed to secure their place in the Champions League.

However, considering their poor start to this season, there is a high possibility that they might be relegated to this competition at the end of the group stage and the record Europa League champions are always among the favourite clubs to win this competition.

Jose Mourinho is the master of achieving success in the cup competitions so his team AS Roma must be among the favourites to lift the Europa League title this season.

They have enjoyed success on the European stage in recent times as after winning the Conference League in the 2021/22 season, the Giallorossi reached the Europa League final last season before falling short to Sevilla in the final on penalties.

Eight teams from the Champions League will be relegated to the Europa League and if a few top teams were to drop down to this competition then they would come into contention for winning this competition.

Other English clubs

Meanwhile, the special mention needs to go to Brighton and Hove Albion. They have managed to qualify for the European competition for the first time in their history and they have added squad depth this summer to compete in Europe along with performing well in the Premier League. The glimpses of their squad depth were shown on Sunday as they thrashed Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford with their relatively second team.

Roberto de Zerbi has been doing an excellent job since being appointed as the Seagulls boss almost a year ago and they are currently one of the most exciting teams around Europe. So, they are certainly in the mix to win the Europa League this season.

West Ham United have also managed to qualify for the Europa League this season after winning the Conference League last term. They are expected to go deep into this competition, but they are unlikely to win the trophy this term.

Potential issues for Liverpool

Nevertheless, Klopp’s Liverpool are certainly the hottest favourite to win the competition this season and if they can manage to find the rhythm deep into the season, then it would be hard for any team to stop them from lifting this trophy.

However, the thing that can prevent Liverpool from becoming the champions of Europe’s second-tier competition is their fragile backline. Ibrahima Konate has already started the season with injury problems, while Joel Matip continues to look shaky during the first few games after displaying poor performances last term.

Joe Gomes doesn’t look good either so the full responsibility will be on Virgil van Dijk to organise the backline and take his team to win big trophies this season.

LASK vs Liverpool: Preview team news and prediction

Liverpool are set to kickstart their Europa League campaign on Thursday evening when they travel to Raiffeinsen Arena to take on LASK.

The Anfield club will be coming into this game off the back of a 3-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. The scoreline may look comfortable for the Merseyside club but the actual game was anything but that.

The Wolves completely dominated Liverpool in the first half and even went ahead before the interval. However, Klopp’s side fought back brilliantly and eventually scored three goals in the second half to come away with all three points.

So, Liverpool will be full of confidence ahead of this fixture and they are a heavy favourite to win in this fixture on Thursday. Tickets are still available for the game on Seatsnet and given the competition and opposition, the game may not be a sell-out so this could be a good opportunity for those fans who usually can’t get a ticket to attend a game.

Team news

Liverpool don’t have many injury issues at the moment, though Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to be sidelined with a hamstring problem in this encounter. He couldn’t feature due to the injury versus Wolves and Klopp said that the Englishman is expected to start training this week.

Thiago Alc√°ntara has been sidelined with an injury problem since the start of this season but he is progressing towards full fitness. However, this midweek game may come too early for him to feature.

The good news is that Van Dijk is set to return to the starting eleven in this encounter. The Netherlands international is currently suspended in the Premier League after picking up a red card against Newcastle United and his suspension will be over after next weekend’s game. But, he is eligible to feature in Europe.

After starting the first two games of the season, Konate was sidelined with an injury problem in the last few fixtures, but he returned to the matchday squad in the last game against Wolves and even played the last few minutes. So, it remains to be seen whether Klopp opts to start him in this fixture.

Prediction

Klopp is expected to make a few changes to his starting eleven in this fixture but Liverpool have a pretty strong team and that should be enough to beat LASK in midweek. LASK 1-3 Liverpool