What is the Europa Conference League? Liverpool could enter new competition next season

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One thing is for sure in this crazy Premier League season, Liverpool won’t be retaining their Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp’s side strolled to glory during the 2019/20 campaign but are well off the pace this time around.

Following their eighth defeat of the season at home to Chelsea on Thursday night, the Reds find themselves 22 points behind leaders Manchester City. In truth, they shouldn’t even be thinking about Man City.

Their ambitions have changed and their goal is now to finish in the top-four. Even that is a tough ask with Liverpool currently in seventh. In fact, if Tottenham and Aston Villa win their games in hand, Liverpool will be ninth.

They’ll be fortunate to qualify for the Champions League at this rate. In fact, they may not even qualify for next season’s Europa League.

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However, fortunately for them, UEFA have created a third competition which they might just qualify for - the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The team that wins the Carabao Cup will be England’s representatives.

However, if that team has already qualified for Europe through their league position then the side who finishes sixth will enter the Europa Conference League. With Man City and Spurs already in the final, that seems fairly likely.

It will then drop to seventh if the winner of the FA Cup also qualifies for Europe through their league position. Again, that seems likely considering Man City are still in the competition.

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So, what is the UEFA Europa Conference League? We hear you ask.

Well, it’s basically an even worse version of the Europa League.

It will consist of 184 teams over the course of the season, including at least one from each of the 55 UEFA associations - 46 clubs will have fallen down from the Champions League or the Europa League.

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How will it work?

After a lengthy qualification process where every side will have to face at least two-legs, it will be a similar format to the Champions League.

There will be eight groups of four teams, followed by knockout round play-offs, the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

The eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16.

However, in a slight twist, additional knockout round play-offs will then be played before the round of 16 between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams of the UEFA Europa League groups.

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How exciting.

Finish sixth or seventh and at least Liverpool fans will have a new competition to try and win.

Silver linings and all that…

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