Why Liverpool and Tottenham’s Europa League campaign could be a boost for rivals

Everton, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Swansea will all eye top-six finishes if the Europa League proves a distraction.

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool’s participation in the Europa League could be a blessing for their Premier League rivals this season.

Managers Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers have signalled their intent early on by selected rotated sides for their opening continental fixtures, with the Reds in particular naming several youngsters in their starting XI.

However, both would expect to qualify from the groups they have been given, and with a Champions League place on offer for the winners, will surely take the competition more seriously in the latter stages.

That could prove a distraction later on in the season, with both sides determined to return to Europe’s top table. If their quest for the top four is floundering, eyes may turn to the Europa League instead.

There is also the consistency issue to consider, with the potential chopping and changing of line-ups meaning that it can be hard for teams to find rhythm, while fitness also becomes a concern with so many added games - even with rotated teams.

Both could see their Premier League campaigns struggle to take off as a result, and there are several sides looking to take full advantage.

The main contenders for top six spots 

At this point in time, the main contenders to challenge look to be surprising ones, with Everton, West Ham United, Swansea City and potentially Crystal Palace all eyeing those higher positions.

Everton, in particular, know all about the negative effect a Europa League campaign can have on Premier League performances, having suffered as a result of being in the competition last season.

So do Swansea, who suffered a similar fate under Michael Laudrup having impressed under the Dane’s leadership the season before. 

West Ham will also be eyeing European football ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016, and their start to the season suggests it could be a possibility.

Crystal Palace are outsiders in the chase, but a solid start to the season and impressive work in the summer transfer window, as well as their continued form under Alan Pardew, means they could be a rival.

For now, all four sides will be hoping that Europe once again proves a distraction to the English sides, and if it does, that they can take full advantage.

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