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The Path to Champions League is Paved By Europa League Success

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Liverpool still have multiple avenues of Champions League qualification available to them, but the easiest option might also be one that could end in silverware.

Liverpool and Liverpool fans want European football. Not just any European football will do, of course, and though the club is currently still working its way out of the first Europa League knock-out round, it's Champions League football they'll have their eye on long term.

"A few teams in the world can think about winning the Europa League and I think we are one of these teams,'' Jürgen Klopp said ahead of Liverpool's match against Augsburg. We don't have to say, 'We have no chance,' but if you look at the teams in the competition now it is like a little Champions League.

"The chance to qualify for the Champions League makes it more interesting, ask Sevilla [Europa League winners four times in the last 10 years] who would have qualified many times with this rule. We are in the last 32. We can see the line but I cannot say now, 'This is our only chance of being in the Champions League.' It's a chance."

Winning Europa League is certainly a chance, though finishing Top Four in the Premier League is usually the preferred method of qualification. But chances are chances and Klopp is still happy to take a less traditional route if it means better odds of playing top tier continental football next season.

"How many points in the league are we away from the Champions League?" the German asked. "I think it is nine. So, yeah, at this moment I would say we have a better chance this way at the moment.

"Maybe the top four clubs will have a crisis but we have to solve our own problems. We have to be at the highest motivation for the game without thinking about the last moment and knowing the possibility.''

It's been a topsy turvy Premier League season so there's still a very real possibility of someone in the Top Four slipping up. But while eighth place Liverpool might rely on a bit of misfortune from Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Manchester City, like Billy Zane before him, Klopp knows that a real man makes his own luck.