Liverpool’s Rodgers: Europa spot through Fair Play league unlikely

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers not keen on possibility of Reds qualifying for the Europa League through the Fair Play league

brendan rodgers
Brendan Rodgers took over at Anfield last May Photo: Back Page Images

Brendan Rodgers admits he isn’t keen on Liverpool qualifying for next season’s Europa League through Uefa’s Fair Play league.

The Reds could still reach Europe’s second tier club competition by virtue of their good disciplinary record this season, which would mean a return to competitive action in early July.

Fulham and Manchester City have both been handed places via this route in recent seasons, but the Northern Irishman believes that a year without competing on two fronts could serve the club better in the long run.

“I’ve never thought of it,” said Rodgers. “Maybe we should get a couple of sendings off or bookings!

“There’s a pride thing and we want to get into it with our performance level and it’s highly unlikely we’d get that route [anyway].

“It’s the top three countries and we’re fourth. It’s not something I would be keen on. I want to get there through the right means.

“If we have to have a year where we are not in it, it’s going to give us an opportunity to push on.”

Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League at the last-32 stage this season, with the demands of competing in four different competitions taking its toll on Rodgers’s stretched squad.

And the 40-year-old would prefer the Reds to qualify for Europe thanks to their performances in the Premier League – and not because of their disciplinary record.

“It was a long journey in the Europa League this year,” he added. “Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed it and we were disappointed when we came out of it, but I think down the Fair Play route means the competition starts even earlier.

“I’d prefer to be in it by qualifying through the league or winning a trophy.

“If it’s not that way then, we as a club are better suited to re-aligning our focus to domestic cups and the league.”

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