The Europa League isn’t the competition that anybody at Anfield wants to be in.
The fans and players have become accustomed to Champions League football in recent times but after a poor campaign last season and a seventh place finish in the Premier League the club are only in UEFA’s second tier competition.
When Liverpool was knocked out of the Champions League last season they dropped down into the Europa League and hardly anybody at the club seemed to care about the competition until the semi-final stage.
The atmosphere at the Europa League games at Anfield last season was tepid. The games didn’t produce those famous European nights at Anfield. I think most fans would happily be knocked out of the Europa League early to finish fourth in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool’s start to the season has been an absolute awful. They currently sit 16th in the Premier League table and have looked very nervy in a lot of their games. Some would say they were lucky to get a 2-2 against Sunderland at the weekend and that performance summed up their start to the season.
A lot of people at the club are putting the poor start down to the change of boss. New boss Roy Hodgson is an experienced campaigner but there are already question marks about his ability to be successful at Anfield.
He has come from a mid-level Premier League team in Fulham to one of the biggest clubs in England. It must be quite a culture shock for the likable boss. I have always sang the praises of the 62 year-old but I think even in these early stages he looks out of his depth.
The biggest problem at Liverpool at the moment seems to be a lack of confidence. The players seem nervous and lacking conviction. The player suffering the most at the moment is Spanish star Fernando Torres.
The former-Atletico Madrid striker doesn’t look like he has recovered from the injury he picked up last season. He played a bit part in Spain’s summer World Cup victory and hasn’t looked like the deadly striker of a few years in the last couple of months.
Torres was linked with a move away from Anfield this summer and has already been linked with a move away in January. Has Liverpool’s poor start distracted him from his football and led him to sulk or is he just lacking confidence?
I’m not sure but for Liverpool’s sake they need him to regain his form very quickly. Roy Hodgson could have left him out of the trip to Utrecht but he has decided to play him and hope he can find the net to help improve his confidence.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Europa League isn’t top of Liverpool’s priorities but it is still a chance to win silverware. Any silverware will be welcome for Liverpool this season and I’m sure the Liverpool fans won’t mind a trip to Dublin for the final in May either!
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