El Madrigal will be hosting the UEFA Europa league clash between Villarreal and Liverpool tonight and the result after 90 minutes may go a long way for both clubs. While there will be a second leg next week, both teams will be looking to sit in the driving seat for the second leg. A place in the final and an opportunity to lift the trophy is the prize for this two-legged clash. For Liverpool though, it may go a long way in deciding the future of the club.
Liverpool’s last trophy was a league cup final victory over Cardiff four years ago and since that time, it had been a near miss for them. The Reds have gone on to play three cup semi finals, making it into the final of one and losing that to Chelsea. Having lost the 2012 FA Cup final to Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers’ boys were also stopped in the semi final of the 2015 league cup semi final by the same opponent. Their recent semi final agony was at the hands of Aston Villa in the 2015 FA Cup. So, Jurgen Klopp will be looking to distance himself from his predecessor and show the fans that it’s a new era for success. Winning the UEL will also go on to show that Klopp’s magic will bring back Liverpool to the top.
Liverpool last recorded an European success in 2005 when the ‘miracle of Istanbul’ earned them their fifth Champions league trophy and the last time they won the UEFA second tier competition was in 2001. A success in this competition will restore Liverpool’s position among the Elites. Many pundits and rival fans alike have been asking the question of if Liverpool still remain among the European top clubs. A success in this competition will clear that doubt a bit.
So what’s more? The winner of this competition will be guaranteed a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League. With Liverpool in seventh place and nine points from fourth place in the Barclay’s Premier League table, the Europa league seems the more achievable way for them to return to European top notch competition.
A return to the Champions League is important for Liverpool because it’s going to benefit them in many ways. Considering the revenues of Premier League rivals like arsenal and Manchester United, Liverpool will need to boost their own income with the Champions league match day tickets and it will also help them attract better sponsorships. Part of the Anfield stadium is being expanded to also help generate more revenues for the owners which can then be invested in the team.
The Fenway sports group have invested so much in the team since taking over about six years ago but the quality of players that the money is being spent on can be questioned. Many players have come in and gone because of their underperformance while those who have shown quality have been lured away by the prospects of Champions league football, trophies and wages. The likes of Chelsea and Tottenham have snatched away players like Salah, William and Wilden from Liverpool with this offers. But with Jurgen Klopp coming in and Liverpool returning to the Champions League, I believe there will be more attraction for players and the fans can expect quality signing.
With all these at the back of his mind, Klopp will hope his players can give their best and their best will be enough. A triumph in the competition will back up Klopp’s promise of a league title in three years and also helps attract those that can help him make that promise come true.