First off, I would just like to note that as League Cup winners we currently qualify for the 3rd qualifying round of the EL, not the first round proper (i.e. the playoff round before the group stages); not like that's such a big deal or anything, but it just doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet and it does mean starting the season early, end July / start August... Like I said, no big deal, they'll just replace 2 friendlies (may even have us going into the start of the PL season in a higher gear than the others), just thought it worth mentioning
That said, I do rate the UEFA cup as the lowest of importance... I don't think it's a 'joke', as suggested that some fans do in the 2nd qoute below, and it's not like I have an opinion of 'small trophies' (I don't underestimate the CC at all for instance, and that's not because we just won it), the difference is that you're not competeing against the best in it... You can't do any better in English League football than win the Premiership (Old 1st Division); people rate the FA Cup over the League Cup, but there are no better teams in the FA Cup than in the League Cup (Really the League Cup should be scrapped and only one cup competition should exist in England like nearly every other country, but as it is, it's there to be won and I fully respect it), but the UEFA Cup is different; you're not competing against the best! If you win it, you're the best team in Europe (...apart from the other 32 that played in that other competition #sayitquitely), I just don't see the prestige of it, and I don't think that makes me not a real fan or a shitehouse hanger-on who should fuck off and support the mancs, and i'm not embarresed to say that either... Maybe those comments were aimed soley at people who considered the competition a 'joke' as opposed to the likes of me, but that's my 2 cents on it anyway
And I do agree that there are a lot of benefits to take fom it as well... I, and many others on here, said when we failed to qualify for the EL last season that it could be of benefit to us in our attempts to get back into the Top 4 this season, and a hinderance to Spurs, but look at us now; we finished 4 points behind them last season, and we're already 14 behind them this year! Now that doesn't neccesarily tell the full story, but it still throws that theory out the window surely... Many people in this thread have mentioned the youth development aspect of the EL and I fully agree with the importance of it in this regard! Flanagan and Robinson have got fuck all game time this season, even Kelly's has been severely reduced since Johnson came back to full fitness; Danny Wilson has had to go on loan, and Shelvey twice! Add the likes of Coady, Suso and Sterling to this, as well as our new lad Texeira, and you can see how important this tournament could be for us next year. Not just the youth players, but most of the players we've signed under Kenny have little or no European experience either! Going straight back into the CL would be like jumping into the deep end (although i'll happily dive in backwards if we qualify!). A mixture of experienced European players with these lesser experienced players and the youths will be of benefit to all... Alan_X seems to be the only one who picked up on another very important aspect of Europen qualification and competition (be it whatever form); UEFA coefficiants - I don't think there's much fear of England losing their 4th spot, both England and Spain are quite a bit ahead of Italy and Germany, but even our own club coefficiant is reducing every year without european competition! We risk dropping in the 'draw pots' should
we qualify for the CL, and then we could be in a situation like City, drawing Munich, Napoli and Villareal, and getting knocked out at the group stages again
I've gone on for a lot longer than initially intended there, but in summary, I'm much happier to be in the EL than nothing (an opinion that I admitedly wrongly held last season), but i'd be much much happier if we were in the CL (obviously!)... I wouldn't be distraught if we got knocked out of the EL like I would be with any other competition, but there are many benefits to keep me happy about being in it for however long that may be; plus, European aways and a potential final in Amsterdam (as other posters have said) IS very appealing
Is correct. Liverpool belong in Europe but it's not a right and we need to earn our place. Some on here sound like Spurs fans who think a couple of decent games makes them part of the European elite who can look down their noses at the competition.
It's important to be back in Europe to build up our coefficient so that we get a decent draw when or if we're back in the Champions League. With six or seven strong teams at the top of the Premier League there will be more occasions when we don't make the Champions League. Anyone not taking the Europa League seriously and going out early (like good old 'Arry) could find themselves at a disadvantage in the Champions League in the years they do qualify and potentially lose the Premier League one of its four places in the long term. Poor performances in the UEFA Cup played a part in Italy losing one of their Champions League spots to Germany. Our UEFA Cup win in 2001 (apart from being a great final and a pot in the trophy cabinet) helped get the fourth spot.
To be fair any of our 'fans' that think this is a 'joke' competition aren't real fans. They are shithouse hangers on that should be nowhere near our great club. They should fuck off and 'support' the Mancs or something.
Liverpool FC exists to win trophies and this is a very special one. Just like the League cup. Been to every final since the 80s and any 'fan' that doesn't respect that competition can fuck right off as well. They are just embarrasing.