Liverpool return to the top table of European football

Lpool Champs lge

The most successful British club in European football history end an eight year absence from the competition this evening. Liverpool take on Sevilla in a repeat of the 2016 Europa League final. ‘The Reds’ will be hoping to get off to a flying start and continue their successful history in Europe’s elite competition. Manager Jurgen Klopp is experienced in the competition after campaigns with Borussia Dortmund saw him reach a final. Liverpool will be hoping that their team will be able to roll back the years and upset some of the European giants.

Local rivals Manchester United, who Liverpool beat on the route to 2016 Europa League final, got off to the start Liverpool will be hoping to make in their opening fixture. Sevilla will be tough opponents for the English club and will more than likely be the main rivals for top spot for the Merseyside club. Spartak Moscow and Maribor complete Group E which gives the five time winners a great chance to gain qualification.

Liverpool’s long term presence in the Champions League tailed off after the 2009/10 ill fated effort. Rafael Benitez lead them into the competition and they were faced with a group which consisted of Fiorentina, Lyon and Debrecen. A group in which Liverpool would have been quietly confident with the group but it was not meant to be. Home defeats to Lyon and Fiorentina halted any progress they were going to make. Liverpool only managed two victories against bottom side Debrecen.

The performance in the 09/10 Champions League came as a shock especially as the club reached the quarter finals the season before. Seeing off the mighty Real Madrid in the first knock out stage they were eliminated by Chelsea in the next round. The performance in the Champions League, terrible performances in the domestic cups and a seventh place finish in the league cost Rafa his job.

Since then Liverpool have appeared in the Champions League once under the management of Brendan Rodgers in 2014/15. Again Liverpool fail to impress. They finished third again behind Real Madrid and Basel winning only the single game. Again a frustrating European campaign, a sixth place finish and falling at the semi final stage of both domestic cup competitions turned the heat up on Rodgers. Early into the next season he left the club and Klopp came in. Now he is taking his Liverpool side in to compete against the best teams in Europe. This time they look set to do themselves justice.

Liverpool had a good start to the season until their 5-0 loss to Manchester City. Sadio Mane’s red card had a huge influence on the result and playing a Pep Guardiola team with only 10 men is a daunting task. The football Liverpool have played is brilliant and new man Mohamed Salah looks to have fit in quickly and complements the other members of the front three well. The new signing is a doubt for the game after missing training yesterday which is a huge blow for Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge could feature as his replacement.

It feel more like the Champions League with Liverpool present in the group stages. The draw was friendly to them and they will be excited to get their newest stint of European football under way. It feels that they are undergoing a resurgence and a new era is forming on the red side of Merseyside. Good football and excellent management has the club feeling inspired. Champions League football is a massive plus for the club and performing well could see them return to their former glory on the biggest club stage there is.

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Alan Brown

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