Former Liverpool striker-turned-pundit Michael Owen has been speaking about the remainder of our campaign, and has said we need to put all our energy into trying to win the Europa League.
Owen, who was one of our best players when we lifted the UEFA Cup in the treble-winning season of 2001, is adamant that it should be our priority.
“As we said before, it’s the chance to get Champions League qualification. The league is slipping away, so that’s unlikely,” he said (via Echo).
“The League Cup final is on the horizon, and I think that and the Europa League should be right up there on the list of priorities.”
We are currently nine points behind fourth place Man City in the race for the Champions League places, and qualification looks unlikely.
Owen also took the chance to pass comment on the competition’s stature and the remaining sides in the tournament:
“The Europa League is always strong. Obviously at the start there are loads of teams, and the quality is diluted a bit. But when you get to the knockout stages, it is always a strong line-up.
“I remember when we won it in 2001, we had to play a lot of strong sides. We went to Olympiakos, Roma, Porto, Barcelona – all big sides. It was almost like a Champions League campaign.
“It has been derided in the past, but in a strange way some would say it’s the hardest competition to win because you’ve got to play so many games.
“The strength is there, especially when all the Champions League teams drop in. It’s a hard one to win and, as I know from experience, it’s a very good one to win as well.
“Sevilla have got a fantastic record in the competition in recent years, so they’ll be among the favourites.
“Tottenham are obviously doing really well in the Premier League, but I wonder whether that will mean they have to change their outlook in Europe.
“The likes of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar… there is a lot of quality there.”