If Liverpool fails to qualify for the Champions League, they may end up in the Europa League or the UEFA Conference League
Liverpool are in an unusual position in the Jurgen Klopp era, as they enter their final ten Premier League games one point behind the Champions League places.
The Reds were in a similar position in 2020/2021, finishing eighth with 43 points and 10 games remaining, but were only four points behind Chelsea in fourth place.
A 10-game unbeaten run, highlighted by a stunning Alisson Becker winner, propelled Liverpool to third place at the end of that season, but a repeat appears unlikely this time around.
Even if Liverpool manages to beat Manchester United and Newcastle United to fourth place, they may not even qualify for the Champions League.
If Erik Ten Haag’s side wins the Europa League and Chelsea wins the Champions League, and both finish outside the top four, fourth place will no longer qualify for Europe’s elite competition, but will instead qualify for the Europa League.
Due to Liverpool’s inconsistencies, a place in the second- or third-tier European competition appears more likely for Klopp’s men.
What does finishing three spots outside the top four actually mean for Liverpool?
As things currently stand, Liverpool would qualify for the Europa League group stages for the first time since 2016.
If Liverpool finish sixth, they must rely on Manchester United or Manchester City to win the FA Cup in order to qualify for the Europa League group stages, as well as the Red Devils or City remaining in the top four.
That is because there is at least one FA Cup team that could win it despite not finishing in the top seven.
Sheffield United, which is vying for promotion to the Premier League, or Brighton (should they also finish outside the top six) could win the competition, putting Liverpool in the Europa Conference League.
Seventh place used to be a Europa League qualifying spot if the two domestic champions were already in Europe, but that has changed since 2021/22 due to UEFA reforming their European competitions.
So, if Liverpool finishes in that position, they will enter the Europa Conference League.
That is assuming Manchester United does not suffer a major collapse, as they won the League Cup, and winners of that competition are rewarded with a Conference League place if they are not already in a European league place.
However, there is a chance that Liverpool will miss out on Europe even if they finish seventh. If Chelsea and Manchester United win their respective European tournaments while finishing outside the top four, the Conference League position will be moved to sixth.
If West Ham wins the UEFA Conference League, they will gain automatic entry into the Europa League, but this will have no bearing on the top seven because England will only have three representatives in UEFA’s second tier.