Belfast Telegraph

Europa League 'Liverpool's best bet'

Pat Nevin feels Liverpool have more to gain from winning the Europa League this season than finishing in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

Finishing in the Champions League positions has obvious financial benefits and missing out on that cash injection is something Liverpool fans fear.

Yet, as Liverpool prepare to face Romanian contenders Unirea in the first leg of their last 32 encounter in Europe's secondary competition, Nevin believes there are justifiable reasons for his statement.

“I am not sure missing out on the top four for one season would make that much difference,” said the former Scotland star turned pundit. “Obviously the finance is there and if the situation stayed the same for three years, it would be a major issue.

“But what Liverpool crave is status. Winning a major European trophy gives you that, even if it is not the competition you want. I actually feel, given the situation they are in, winning the Europa League would send out a more positive message for Liverpool than scraping into the top four.”

Jamie Carragher and Yossi Benayoun are unlikely to be risked against the Romanians, who impressed during their Champions League campaign under Dan Petrescu before eventually settling for third place, above Rangers.

Liverpool expected far better though, their elimination bringing pressure on boss Rafa Benitez.

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