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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Will Liverpool Go for UEFA Europa League 2010-11?

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is now facing a dilemma between Premier League and Europa League next season. Liverpool finished 7th in the Premier League last season, and thus, failing to clinch a Champions League place.

However, the Reds have well qualified for the UEFA Europa League (formerly UEFA Cup), but Hodgson is now fearful of going for both Europa League and Premier League with a very small squad.

Liverpool’s top priority this season is to get back their Champions League place by finishing in the top four in Premier League and it is badly needed for the debt-laden Merseyside club. However, new manager Roy Hodgson, who replaced Rafael Benitez last month, is now left with a very small after the departure of some players.

To target both Premier League and European titles, a club must have quality reserve players who can deputize for first choice players during the busy phase of the season without letting the team’s performance level fall down.

Inter Milan, who won treble last season, did not have star players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney, but still they managed to clinch three trophies because they had enough depth in their squad.

On the other hand, Liverpool even does not have enough first choice players. For example, they are now short of a quality left back. If Javier Mascherano leaves for Inter Milan, Hodgson then would have to arrange a holding midfielder too with Premier League starting in less then three weeks.

Liverpool is going to face Macedonian side Rabotnicki on 29 July in the third qualifying round match of Europa League 2010-11. Many of the club’s World Cup players have just returned to training after the grueling Summer tournament in South Africa.

Sports scientists have already asked Hodgson not to rush his World Cup players like captain Steven Gerrard for the Europa Cup match, if he wants to get uninterrupted services from those players during the Premier League season. So, it is apparent that the Reds boss Hodgson does not want to risk Liverpool’s Premier League chances by focusing on Europa League.

Hodgson last season guided Fulham to the Europa League final, but his team had to pay the price by finishing 12th in the Premier League. However, it is understood that Hodgson does not have the liberty of deciding whether to focus solely on Premier League or both because the club’s board members would like to see the club qualify for the Europa League group stage due to its financial advantages.

Overall, Roy Hodgson is now going through a tough time at Liverpool. He now has to either convince the board members to sacrifice those financial advantages attached with Europa League, or focus on both the tournaments, and thus, putting Liverpool into more danger.

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