Liverpool news

Liverpool don't want Fairplay place

May 2, 2013
By ESPN staff

Brendan Rodgers were prefer it if Liverpool did not qualify for next season's Europa League through the Fair Play league.

Brendan Rodgers has been left with a decision that could define his time at Anfield
GettyImagesBrendan Rodgers believes Liverpool's pre-season tour is more important than the Europa League

• Walsh: Football tribalism
• Ivanovic ends silence
• Suarez has child's mentality

The Reds sit second behind Arsenal in the Premier League's fair play standings, with Tottenham and Manchester United, who are set to automatically qualify for Europe, occupying the third and fourth spots.

UEFA grants a place in the Europa League qualification stages to the three highest place fair play leagues in Europe and, although England sat fourth in that list at the last standingd on December 31, Liverpool could nab one of those places with three games still remaining in the season.

The Reds' pre-season tour of Asia and Australia in July would clash with preliminary qualification matches and Rodgers would rather not have a season in Europa to enable to club to push on in the Premier League.

"I've never thought of it,he said. "Maybe we should get a couple of sendings off or bookings. There's a pride thing and we want to get into it with our performance level and it's highly unlikely we'd get that route [anyway].

"It's the top three countries and we're fourth. It's not something I would be keen on. I want to get there through the right means. If we have to have a year where we are not in it, it's going to give us an opportunity to push on."

Liverpool had to qualify for this season's Europa League with play-off ties against Belarusian side FC Gomel and Scotland's Hearts after finishing as runners-up in the FA Cup to Chelsea.

Rodgers believes the extra pre-season fixtures, despite the possibility of being present in Europe, would be a burden for Liverpool.

"It was a long journey in the Europa League this year," he said. "Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed it and we were disappointed when we came out of it, but I think down the Fair Play route means the competition starts even earlier.

"I'd prefer to be in it by qualifying through the league or winning a trophy. If it's not that way then, we as a club are better suited to re-aligning our focus to domestic cups and the league."