After what has been an extremely underwhelming start to 2021, it looks like Liverpool are set for a return to the Europa League next season. Countless draws and a record number of defeats at Anfield have contributed to the Reds fall down the table. They currently sit four points behind Chelsea who sit firmly in fourth in the table.
It’s still a case of never say never and still very possible, but given Chelsea and Leicester’s recent form and Liverpool’s inconsistencies of late, Champions League football looks all but gone for the Reds next season. Let’s take a look at what impact this could have on Liverpool next season.
The financial implications of not qualifying for the Champions League is a topic talked about every season and given the controversy following the European Super League, it is clear the financially superior clubs are trying to recoup money lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. When Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019 they received 92.5 million euros in prize money.
Regardless of winning or not progressing far in the tournament, clubs will still pocket a favourable amount of money, estimated to be around 13 millions pounds from qualification and television rights. The club recently announced a pre tax loss of 46 million pounds which is a massive swing in comparison to last year when they won the Premier League.
The financial impact of COVID 19 resulted recently in Fenway Sports Group selling a 10% share for 543 million pounds to private investment firm RedBird Capital in the hope of stabilising the clubs finances post covid. Like the Champions League, the Europa League will bring investment to Liverpool but on a much smaller scale.
Despite the financial losses from not playing in Europe, Liverpool fans will be curiously waiting to see what FSG next move will be. Many fans have called for the American ownership group to leave the club. It will be interesting to see if the Fenway Sports Group decide to heavily invest this summer to try and get back into fans good books. A report by the Daily Mirror’s David Maddock recently suggested that FSG had received offers of up to three billion pounds from buyers in the middle east but are refusing to sell.
The prospect of playing in the Champions League has always been a big draw for many players when they consider making the move to another club. It is the biggest tournament in club football and the opportunity to compete for a Champions League medal has swayed the decisions of players when weighing up their next transfer. Harry Kane is a recent example of this.
According to numerous sources Kane has expressed his desire to leave Tottenham should they fail to qualify for Europe. Dreams of signing Mbappe and Haaland could be further distant for Liverpool fans due to the drop into the Europa League. Liverpool are still a massive club who will always attract quality players but with bigger players come bigger wages and the financial helping hand of playing in Europe is no longer present making it difficult for the Reds to meet big wage demands.
Alongside the difficulties of possibly trying to lure quality players to Anfield with no Champions League football, is the danger of Liverpool also losing some of their best players. It is no secret that members of the Liverpool squad have drawn attention from other top clubs in Europe but players so far have kept faith in the process and before this season it delivered them success. One name linked with a move away more than his team-mates is Mohamed Salah. Salah to his credit has played a huge role this season in any points Liverpool have amassed so far scoring 20 league goals.
Despite rumours, Liverpool will be reluctant to cash in on Salah and would expect him to be a part of their next title charge. Although there is the worry that no Champions League football could lead to departures, Liverpool fans hope that players will hold themselves responsible for subpar performances in many games and want to prove themselves again next season regardless of the tournament they play in.
Dropping down into the Europa League will certainly be a shock to the system for Liverpool as a club as well as the fans. But the club have faced darker times in the past with less quality in their ranks and powered on regardless. The transition from their success in recent seasons to playing in Europe’s second tier will be something this current Liverpool crop are not used to and this will be their biggest test.
Although a dramatic fall, Jurgen Klopp’s team will have an opportunity to prove they can pick themselves up again and return to their best, but this will require changes from both players and manager as well as backing from the owners. No doubt this will be an adjustment for fans but one they have experienced before and still went on to see their club to brighter times.