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Liverpool offered new European qualification route by Manchester United



Liverpool offered new European qualification route by Manchester United

Man United victory over Brighton in FA Cup semi-final has given Liverpool a boost in their battle to qualify for Europe

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Not often can Liverpool supporters be found cheering on Manchester United.

And, in truth, they probably weren’t on Sunday as the Old Trafford side eked their way to the FA Cup final with a penalty shoot-out victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley.

But defeat for the Seagulls was actually good news for the Reds. Well, at least in terms of improving their chances of European football next season.

Seven places are available to English teams. Those who finish in the top four of the Premier League are guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League after United were dumped out of the Europa League by Sevilla on Thursday evening, therefore removing the prospect of Erik ten Hag’s side finishing outside the top four but taking one of the Champions League places as Europa League winners.

At the start of the campaign, one Europa League berth is available to the team finishing fifth in the Premier League, with another going to the FA Cup winners. The League Cup winners are handed a place in the Europa Conference League.

However, with both United and fellow FA Cup finalists Manchester City expected to finish in the top five, it means the team finishing in sixth place will also be given a Europa League berth along with the team finishing fifth – both progressing directly to the group stages.

And as United have already won the League Cup, the Europa Conference League berth is now poised to be handed to the team finishing seventh, as it was last year with West Ham United, who have reached the semi-finals of the competition this season.

Liverpool, of course, still harbour hopes of an unlikely top-four finish, although it would realistically require Jurgen Klopp’s side win all their remaining six games and either Newcastle United or Manchester United suffer a loss of form. The Reds now stand six points off the Champions League berths after their 2-1 win at West Ham tonight. But they have played two more matches than the Red Devils and one more than the Magpies, who head to Everton on Thursday night.

But that sixth place will most likely secure Europa League qualification has bolstered their chances of a place in Europe next season while avoiding the Europa Conference League, the qualifiers of which would face a play-off round in late August.

The Reds are now sixth, a point behind Aston Villa in fifth, but with a game in hand and a far superior goal difference. They also have to host Villa at Anfield in the coming weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur, who make their way to Anfield on Sunday, are seventh and level on points with Liverpool, but with a inferior goal difference.


Weird and wonderful Eurovision performers throughout the years

The Eurovision Song Contest returns on Saturday night (13 May) with a host of countries battling for glory.

While Ukraine won the competition in 2022, this year’s contest is being hosted in Liverpool, with the UK being given the honour after finishing runners-up behind Kalush.

Sam Ryder’s success, however, has been a rarity in recent times, with UK acts often struggling to secure points in the vote.

There have, of course, been plenty of other weird and wonderful performances throughout the years and ahead of this year’s final, take a look at some of the most memorable.

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