Man United may have indirectly given Liverpool a helping hand after Wembley shootout triumph

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Manchester United may have inadvertently given Liverpool a helping hand in the Reds’ pursuit of European qualification this weekend.

Although many Kopites would likely have preferred Brighton to progress to the FA Cup final yesterday, the penalty shootout win for Erik ten Hag’s side at Wembley may well have been a better result for their arch-rivals in terms of their potential continental involvement for next season.

As highlighted by the Liverpool Echo, with both United and cup final opponents Manchester City looking nailed-on to finish inside the top five of the Premier League, the Europa League berth from winning at Wembley on 3rd June looks set to be reallocated to the team finishing sixth in the top flight.

That could well be Jurgen Klopp’s side, and with the scenario of them ending in that position ahead of the Seagulls but going into the Europa Conference League instead if Roberto De Zerbi’s men won the FA Cup now avoided, the Red Devils’ success on Sunday could yet work in our favour.

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Of course, anything less than finishing fourth and securing Champions League football would render this season a disappointment for the Reds.

However, if we’re to miss out on the flagship UEFA club tournament, then it’s well worth pushing to secure a Europa League place rather than settling for the Conference League, or missing out on Europe altogether.

One of the better decisions taken by European football’s governing body in recent years has been to give the Europa League winners automatic qualification and top seeding for the subsequent edition of the Champions League.

That has added a far greater incentive to go all-out for the former competition, which was often looked upon with scorn by the continent’s elite clubs beforehand.

Some may feel that the Europa League’s overall quality has also been improved by the creation of the Conference League, which offers a more realistic route for teams lower down the UEFA coefficient to enjoy a prolonged run in Europe.

Playing regularly on Thursday nights obviously isn’t the most ideal scenario for Liverpool, but the calendar shouldn’t be overly congested if that materialises as it’d only take two more matches to win the Europa League than it would the Champions League.

The ‘secondary’ competition gave us some great memories when we were last in it during Klopp’s first season at Anfield (most notably that dramatic night against Dortmund), and if our potential passage into it has been helped by United reaching the FA Cup final, we’ll take it.

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