Europa exit good for Reds?

2015-02-27 16:33
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)

London - When Dejan Lovren's penalty soared high over the bar in Istanbul the Liverpool players would not have been thinking about silver linings with the chance of a trophy having just slipped away.

Yet as their delayed flight touched down and the weary passengers trudged through Liverpool's John Lennon airport in Friday's early hours, there may have been a collective sigh of relief that an energy-sapping Europa League campaign had ended.

Although defeat by Besiktas at the scene of one of Liverpool's greatest European triumphs closed off a potential route to the Champions League, it increased their chances of reaching Europe's elite via a top-four Premier League finish.

Having arrived home just 55 hours before hosting title-chasing Manchester City, the cost of Europe's second-tier competition and the demands it places on clubs without sprawling squads would have been all too evident.

It will be a hard task for Liverpool's fatigued players to match up to City and their vast and expensively acquired array of talents at Anfield on Sunday having had two days fewer to recuperate than their well-resourced opponents.

Having dragged themselves back into contention for a top- four finish following a woeful start to the season, the Europa League was only going to jeopardise hopes of carrying on a recent revival which has brought five wins in six league games.

The second legs of the Europa League's last 16 are scheduled for three days before Liverpool face top-four rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

The first leg of semi-final would have been three days before they played league leaders Chelsea away.

It is certainly not the time to be dwelling on what might have been.

"We can just now concentrate on our league campaign, which is now going better, and we have an excellent opportunity in other competitions," manager Brendan Rodgers said.

While Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini said he has no new injury problems ahead of Sunday's clash, Liverpool, who are two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, face several selection dilemmas.

Jordan Henderson was left behind to nurse a slight ankle problem, while defender Mamadou Sakho has missed their last two games with a hip problem and captain Steven Gerrard and midfield shield Lucas Leiva remain sidelined.

That leaves Rodgers with little wriggle room to rotate those players who completed the full 120 minutes against Besiktas.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  europa league  |  brendan rodgers  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.