Why the FA Cup final boosts Liverpool’s European chances for next season

Liverpool remain in the hunt for European football next season but the specific competition is still unknown, although the FA Cup will now add another spot to vie for.

Jurgen Klopp has guided his side to six successive seasons in the Champions League, but a seventh looks out of reach.

Liverpool are currently nine points adrift of the top four with seven games remaining, and a place in the Europa League or even the Europa Conference League looks the most likely.

The European landscape for the Premier League has recently shifted though, after both Man United and Man City qualified for the FA Cup final.

The two clubs look destined to finish inside the top four, which would subsequently see the Premier League end the campaign with at least seven European qualifiers.

How does it work? Let’s take a look.


The European cut

Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Liverpool v Bayern Munich - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - February 19, 2019 Liverpool players pose for a team group photo before the match (Image: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo)

As we all know, the Champions League spots are reserved for those who finish inside the top four.

A fifth-place finish for Liverpool, which is more realistic, would clinch a spot in the Europa League.

But what would occur with either a sixth or seventh-place finish?

English clubs are reserved two spots in the second-tier competition, for the Premier League‘s fifth-placed sides and the winner of the FA Cup.

If the FA Cup victor finishes the season in the top five, the spot would then be passed down to the club that ended the campaign in sixth – increasing the Reds’ odds of entering this competition.

With Man United and Man City to meet in the FA Cup final and both currently entrenched in the top four, it is all but guaranteed that fifth and sixth will result in a Europa League place.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, May 18, 2016: The UEFA Cup trophy on display before the UEFA Europa League Final between Liverpool and Sevilla at St. Jakob-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As for the third-tier competition, the Europa Conference League, a sole place in the playoffs is guaranteed to the winner of the Carabao Cup.

With Man United having already lifted the trophy, that place will instead be passed on to the club that finishes seventh in the Premier League.

For this to change, Man United would need to finish seventh or lower and win the FA Cup – which is an unlikely eventuality.

So, in simple terms, if Man United and the winners of the FA Cup finish inside the top six, it guarantees the place in the Europa Conference League is handed to seventh.

PL’s European Permutations

Champions League: First, Second, Third, Fourth
Europa League: Fifth, Sixth
Europa Conference League: Seventh

The Reds are currently seventh in the table (50 points) and are directly competing with Tottenham (53 points) and Brighton (49 points) for a European spot.

But with the Premier League to have seven European representatives next season, Liverpool are poised to travel to the continent next season.

The only question that remains is what competition?