Liverpool ended fifth in the Premier League last season, missing out on the Champions League. However, this season’s situations suggest a different outcome, even with Manchester United’s struggles.
The Premier League remains poised to secure a fifth spot for the upcoming Champions League, even after Manchester United and Newcastle United’s early European departures.
Next season will witness a transformation in UEFA continental competitions, adopting the Swiss model. The Champions League will then comprise 36 teams. Of these additional spots, two will be allocated to leagues that exhibit the best performance across all European competitions in the preceding season.
Historical data reveals that in six out of the last seven seasons, England would have clinched this coveted ‘most successful’ spot. Thus, had this system been in place this year, Liverpool would have secured a Champions League spot, despite their fifth-place finish in the Premier League last season.
The exits of Manchester United and Newcastle from the group stage, resulting in their elimination from the Europa League, put the Premier League’s chances for a fifth qualifying spot for the 2024/25 season at risk.
However, England’s position remains strong in the competition for this extra spot. The Premier League boasts six teams still in European contention, competing closely with clubs from Italy, Germany, and Spain.
Arsenal and Manchester City led their respective groups in the Champions League and have favorable matchups in the round-of-16. Arsenal will play FC Porto, and Manchester City will face FC Copenhagen, both anticipating progression.
On the other hand, teams from Serie A, Bundesliga, and La Liga are set for challenging clashes among themselves. Napoli is matched against Barcelona, Inter Milan meets Atletico Madrid, Lazio confronts Bayern Munich, and RB Leipzig challenges Real Madrid. Additionally, Real Sociedad plays Paris Saint-Germain, while Borussia Dortmund encounters PSV Eindhoven in a more favorable draw.
In the Europa League and Europa Conference League, Liverpool, West Ham United, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Aston Villa lead their groups. As a result, these teams skip the knockout round play-offs and are expected to receive favorable matchups in the round-of-16 draws.
England occupied the fourth position in the UEFA coefficients after the Champions League group stages concluded, as reported by BBC Sport. However, due to the advancement of their teams in the Europa League and Europa Conference League, they surpassed Spain to secure the third spot. ESPN highlights that England is closely trailing Italy and Germany in the rankings.
The outcome of the Champions League round-of-16 draw appears favorable for England’s aspiration to secure a fifth qualifying position for the subsequent season. Arsenal and Man City have received advantageous draws, and the teams from other countries are set to eliminate one another.
Liverpool, West Ham, Brighton, and Aston Villa’s advancement compensates for the early departures of Man United and Newcastle. While England’s position doesn’t currently guarantee a fifth qualifying spot, the scenario is likely to evolve as the European knockout stages unfold in 2024.
Jurgen Klopp’s team remains optimistic about not needing the fifth spot for Champions League qualification this season. Although they would have benefited from such a provision last year, they currently occupy the second position in the Premier League standings.
Furthermore, they are seen as the frontrunners to clinch this season’s Europa League title, which would grant them an automatic qualification for the Champions League in the subsequent year.
Should the Premier League secure an additional qualifying spot for Europe’s top competition based on league standings, Tottenham Hotspur stands to gain the most. Currently positioned fifth in the league, they are just a point behind Manchester City. The top four is completed by Arsenal, Liverpool, and Aston Villa.
Tottenham holds a comfortable four-point advantage over Newcastle, who are in sixth place. However, both Newcastle and seventh-placed Manchester United could still vie for a Champions League spot if England earns that extra place, notwithstanding their early departures from European competition and inconsistent domestic performances.
Behind these contenders, West Ham and Brighton are positioned. Their progress in the Europa League also presents them with potential pathways to clinch an unexpected Champions League berth.