Why the Europa League could prove a blessing in disguise for Liverpool FC

By on December 20, 2012

Raheem Sterling

The group stages of the Europa League kicked off in September and Liverpool managed to negotiate their way through an interesting group that saw them do plenty of travelling. The first reaction to being involved in European competition was the impact of added strain on a very thin squad, but Brendan Rodgers had a different view. After all, the club is in a time of transition; new manager, new ideas and the Europa League can be seen as a competition that can definitely aid and quicken this transition. We’ve already seen with previous squads in past seasons that lots of young players are getting a chance who haven’t had the opportunity beforehand, with the likes of Suso, Daniel Pacheco and Connor Coady contributing to an average squad age of 21.

The involvement of these youngsters can only be to the benefit of Liverpool FC as well as providing a huge opportunity for Brendan Rodgers to get his regime up and running, which we’ve already this season with the introduction and rise of Raheem Sterling. In having this influx of youth in and around the first team squad, Rodgers is able to instil his ethos into the minds of his players more efficiently, and the more game time each of these players are able to play, the faster they will pick up on Rodgers’ style of play. It also gives Rodgers a chance to answer some crucial questions: Could Yesil or Pacheco be the goal scorer Liverpool need so badly? Could Jack Robinson be the footballing left-back the Reds need in their squad? Could Suso be the next fan favourite, exciting the Anfield faithful every week?

The only way to find out the answer to these questions is by seeing them play first team football, and if the Premier League is Liverpool’s main focus, Rodgers will be reluctant to play untried youth players week in, week out. For example, Sterling made his first Premiership start after impressing against Scottish side Hearts in the Europa League qualifying stages. The Europa League provides this opportunity and there are some big teams in this competition, such as ‘big-spenders’ Anzhi Makhachkala, who were in Liverpool’s group, so plenty of youngsters will be given a baptism of fire needed to see if they can play at the highest level.

In a way, the Europa League is buying Liverpool time, and possibly even saving the Reds money by helping them uncover talent within their ranks. The Europa League has already provided a platform for analysing upcoming stars and given them a stern test to see if they are suitable for the high profile games that they will play in a Liverpool shirt in the near future.

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  1. Pingback: Europa League draw: live - Telegraph.co.uk | London olympic 2012 blog

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