Alan Smith predicts Liverpool progression in Europa League

The Reds have been drawn with Augsburg in the Europa League last 32.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Alan Smith has backed Liverpool to progress against Augsburg in the Europa League.

The Reds were drawn with the German side in the last 32 on Monday afternoon, with them facing a trip to Germany in the first leg.

They were less than convincing in the group stages under former manager Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp, despite being handed a relatively easy group with Bordeaux, FC Sion and Rubin Kazan.

Augsburg have also been less than impressive in the competition so far as well though, and Smith has backed Klopp’s side to progress against them.

“Despite winning their last two, Augsburg are toiling in the Bundesliga,” he told the Telegraph.

“In addition, they only just qualified from the group stage, scraping through on goal difference. On paper, that points to a Liverpool win if Jurgen Klopp can continue to develop a high-pressing style.”

“When it works, it makes life very difficult for any class of opponent. Injuries permitting, Klopp can return to his homeland with a very good side.”

Given that the winners of the Europa League are now handed a Champions League place, there is certainly a big incentive to try and win the competition. 

With the Premier League so open this season though, a top four place is very much up for grabs, and Liverpool would much rather qualify that way than via the Europa League.

Europe’s secondary tournament has also proven a burden to English sides in the past, with teams unable to cope with the Thursday and Sunday schedule.

Klopp may then be willing to sacrifice the Europa League to secure a Champions League place then, something Liverpool fans would surely be on board with come the end of the season.

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