Under new UEFA regulations, Liverpool could still qualify for the Champions League despite finishing fifth. | soccer4u
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Under new UEFA regulations, Liverpool could still qualify for the Champions League despite finishing fifth.



Under new UEFA regulations, Liverpool could still qualify for the Champions League despite finishing fifth.

Currently, Liverpool are set to be deprived of Champions League football next season, but things could be different if the team finish fifth in 2023/24.

Liverpool’s chances of reaching the Champions League next season are still in jeopardy with less than two weeks of the Premier League season remaining.

The Reds are fifth after Monday night’s 3-0 win over Leicester City, one point behind Newcastle United and Manchester United. However, they have played one game more than the Red Devils and Magpies.

Already assured of a top six spot and Europa League qualification, they will need to win their last two games and at least one of Newcastle and Manchester United’s remaining games to earn the unlikely top four spot. Newcastle’s game is at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday. They then host Leicester City on Monday, travel to Chelsea to complete the season and play their final away game on Sunday.

United travel to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, host Chelsea on Thursday May 25 and finish the season at home with Fulham.

Even though Liverpool have two games left, against Southampton, who have already been relegated, and at home against Aston Villa, where they have a chance to take the three points, it is still a big challenge to beat one of the two teams above them to count those three games and allow the Reds to finish in the top four.

Some fans may have desperately wondered if Jurgen Klopp’s side can sneak into the Champions League next season. For example, if Man City won the competition this year, would England secure a fifth qualifying spot? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Therefore, Liverpool will participate in the Europa League next season unless they manage to oust at least one from Newcastle United or Manchester United.

In reality, the Reds seem to have a harder time qualifying for the Champions League again next season given the tougher competition they will face.

Arsenal and Newcastle United are currently set to benefit from the riches of Champions League play after years in the desert, while Pep Guardiola’s ruthless Man City will continue to strengthen their squad as never before. This summer, Manchester United could receive financial backing from new owners, while Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are both keen to back their new managers in the transfer market.

Add to that the fact that Robert De Zerbi’s Brighton side came close to not celebrating the top four this year. They are on the verge of having a substantial war fund to spend due to the high profile departures.

The Seagulls will be looking to improve on their excellent season this year, although it is too early to declare them Champions League contenders.

Of course, Liverpool will also improve, at least one midfield overhaul is planned for this summer. There is interest in Ryan Gravenberch, Mason Mount and Alexis Mac Allister, with plans for more action late in the season.

Therefore, the battle for Champions League football is set to intensify in the coming years. It is therefore fortunate that this may soon change, even if fifth place is not yet eligible for the European competition.

The Champions League will adopt a new format from the 2024-25 season, moving from a 32-team competition to 36 clubs.

With all 36 teams placed in a league table and each qualifying club playing eight games – four at home and four away – there is no traditional group stage. The teams finishing first through eighth automatically advance to the round of 16, with the subsequent knockout stages remaining the same as the current format. The ninth to 24th-placed teams will compete in a two-legged play-off, with the eight winners advancing to the round of 16.

So how will the four new contestants be chosen?

The ‘Champions Path’ qualifying system, which includes competitions outside the top 10, allows one more team to advance.

In addition, the league that finished fifth in the UEFA coefficients will receive a place. With the top two teams already through to the group stage of the Champions League and their third-placed team reaching the third qualifying round, France currently hold that position.

The top three teams would automatically qualify for the new league structure under the new system, and the fourth-placed team would instead compete in qualifying rather than the Europa League group stage as under the old system.

The two nations with the highest coefficient scores for the current season will claim the remaining two places.

The fifth place qualifiers for the Champions League would go to England and Italy if the new structure were introduced in 2019/2020 instead of 2024/25. As a result, a Premier League side would secure one of the extra places in three of the previous four seasons. In essence, Liverpool’s mid-season is a year too early to benefit from the format change, which would have made fifth place eligible for the Champions League.

And winning the Europa League would also help English clubs qualify for the group stage of the Champions League under the new format, with the winners of the European secondary competition still guaranteed a place under the old system, assuming Premier League teams have still a good performance.

But as the 2023-24 season draws to a close, Klopp inevitably hopes his side will return to the top of the table and fight for trophies rather than just Champions League qualification.


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