Liverpool are a club unlike any other when it comes to European football. The Reds are steeped in history from the continent and while the lion share of their success has come in the premier competition- the Champions League, they have also they success in the Europa League down the years also. For a club like Liverpool, the Europa League will be considered a bonus trophy at the end of the season, as they will be looking add more prestigious honours to their trophy cabinet such as the Premier League or FA Cup. However, the competition remains serious for the club, especially when it gets to the later rounds.
The Reds have played in the Champions League throughout their history, and their six titles in that competition mean that they are a huge bonus to the Europa League whenever they compete in the secondary competition on the continent. They have won three Europa League’s in their history, and between 2009 and 2016 they consistently played in the competition. Although they were never able to add a further honour to their list throughout these seasons, it did put them on course for their Champions League success at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Bookmakers will typically make Liverpool the 4/1 favourites to win the Europa League when they are involved since they have proven European pedigree, and those odds are certain to shorten the longer that they stay in the competition. This is because when the competition begins they are likely to play younger players in order to give them game time, but when the competition gets to the business end they will bring back in their star players to maximize their chances of winning and the chances of punters who have bet on them to win the Europa League. It is always wise to bet on Liverpool, because any European competition that they are taking part in, historically superior on the continent to many of their rivals.
Liverpool Europa League History
- 1967-68: Round 3
- 1968-69: Round 1
- 1969-70: Round 2
- 1970-71: Semi-Finals
- 1972-73: Winners
- 1975-76: Winners
- 1991-92: Quarterfinals
- 1995-96: Round 2
- 1997-98: Round 2
- 1998-99: Round 3
- 2000-01: Winners
- 2002-03: Quarterfinals
- 2003-04: Round 4
- 2009-10: Semi-Finals
- 2010-11: Round of 16
- 2012-13: Round of 32
- 2014-15: Round of 32
- 2015-16: Runners Up
Liverpool Europa League Wins
Liverpool in Europa League 1972-73
The first success in the Europa League came during the 1972-73 season under the stewardship of Bill Shankly. The Reds had to go through ten games before making the final where they would come up against German side Borussia Monchengladbach. Before meeting them in the final, Liverpool had to navigate their way past Eintracht Frankfurt, AEK Athens, Dynamo Berlin and Dynamo Dresden to set up an all-English semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Reds went into the fixture as the heavy 1/3 favourites to progress to the final, and they made their dominance count in the home leg by winning 1-0. Alec Lindsay scored the only goal of the game. The second leg was a tight run affair and a goal from Stephen Heighway ten minutes into the second half ensured the Reds reached their first UEFA Cup final on away goals despite a 2-1 defeat on the night at White Hart Lane.
The final during the 70s was a two-legged affair, and the Reds capitalized on their home advantage in the first leg by winning 3-0. The goals in the opening fixture between the sides were scored by Kevin Keegan, who got a brace, and Laurence Lloyd. It seemed that the Europa League would be heading to Anfield, but they were made to sweat in the second leg as Monchengladbach surged into a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. However, the Reds were able to stay firm in defense, and the match ended in a 3-2 win for the English side on aggregate.
Liverpool in Europa League 1975-76
Liverpool only had to wait for three more years before getting their hands back on the Europa League trophy. The Reds had to overcome stern tests throughout the competition in the form of Hibernian, Real Sociedad, Slask Wroclaw and Dynamo Dresden to set up a heavyweight contest against Barcelona in the semi-finals.
The Catalonian side welcomed Liverpool to Anfield for the first leg of their semi-final clash, and the Reds were 3/1 outsiders to win in the Nou Camp. However, the Merseyside club defied all the odds to win 1-0 after an early strike from John Toshack was enough to separate the sides. Barcelona remained the favourites to progress ahead of the second leg and took an early lead. However, they were pulled back after a header from Phil Thompson, and the Spanish giants were never able to find the momentum in the game again; meaning Liverpool were in a second Europa League final in four seasons.
Their opponents this time came in the form of Belgium giants Club Brugge. The first leg once again came from Anfield, and it went down as one of the best first leg finals in the history of the competition. Raoul Lambert and Julien Cools scored for Brugge to put the travelling side 2-0 ahead after 15 minutes, and Liverpool were struggling to get back into the game. Fortunately, in the second half, the ball, fortunately, broke for Raymond Kennedy to put Liverpool one behind, before James Case and Kevin Keegan scored in the next six minutes to put Liverpool ahead. Anfield was unglued.
The second leg was a much cagier affair, but Lambert put Brugge ahead from the penalty spot and just as the Belgium’s were beginning to believe that they were going to win the Europa League, Liverpool levelled the score lines. Kevin Keegan scored again for the Reds. The striker was vital to their success in the Europa League, and he was awarded the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year just a few days after his exploits in Belgium. John Toshack finished the season as Liverpool’s Europa League top goal scorer, but he was unable to score in either the semi-final or final stages of the competition.
Liverpool Europa League Stats
- Liverpool Europa League Winners – 3 (1972-73, 1975-76, 2000-01)
- Liverpool Europa League Runners-up – 1 (2015-16)
- Seasons in Europa League – 18
- Worst appearance in Europa League- Round 1 (1968-69)
Liverpool in Europa League 2000-01
The most trophy-littered season in the club’s history ended with a triumph in the Europa League under Gerard Houllier. While it doesn’t match the feat that was accomplished by Manchester United in the 1998-99 season which included the Premier League title and the Champions League; it remains special in its own way. The Reds had previously lifted the League Cup and FA Cup trophies in the season, and they were performing excellently in the Europa League to make the final. Bookmakers were sure that Liverpool were going to add the European trophy to their cabinet and offered prices of 4/1 for them to win the competition following their exploits in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
The Reds overcame Rapid Bucharest, Slovan Liberec, Olympiacos, Roma and Porto to make the semi-final stages of the competition where they would come up against Barcelona. The layout of the competition has changed drastically throughout the participation of Liverpool in the Europa League, and this formation of single ties home and away as opposed to a group stage process was a contentious issue among most. However, the Barcelona vs Liverpool fixture which had been set up through this competition was a match-up that could have been more suited for the Champions League.
Both teams were evenly matched, and the first leg resulted in a goalless draw at the Nou Camp. Liverpool took the ascendency in the second leg and thoroughly deserved their 1-0 win following a goal from Michael Owen. Their reward was a final place against Spanish side Alvares and what transpired on that night in Dortmund ensures itself a place in the history books.
It is the highest scoring Europa League final of all-time and was eventually won 5-4 by Liverpool. Markus Babbel and Steven Gerrard goals gave the Reds a commanding advantage before Ivan Alonso pulled one back for the Spanish side. Gary McAllister restored the two-goal lead before a quick-fire double from Javier Moreno put Alaves back on level terms. Robbie Fowler put Liverpool back ahead, but they were pegged back yet against in the 88th minute following a goal from Jordi Cruyff. The decisive goal in the game came in the 116th minute when Delfi Geli put the ball in his own net to give Liverpool the win. This goal remains the only final in club football that was decided by virtue of the golden goal rule before it was abolished following the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korean and Japan.
This was the final success that the English club enjoyed in the competition, although they have enjoyed some fine runs in the Europa League throughout the 2010s. Liverpool have been more active in the Champions League since this final, and have won two honours in that European competition since this final in 2001.
Liverpool Europa League Player Stats
- Most appearances: Jamie Carragher, 52
- Most goals: Michael Owen, 12
- Most assists: Kevin Keegan and Steven Gerrard, 6
- Most yellow cards: Jamie Carragher, 5
- Most red cards: Paul Ince, Steve McManaman and Ryan Babel, 1
Liverpool in Europa League Finals
Liverpool in Europa League 2015-16
The 2015-16 season was important for a lot of reasons but none more so than the run that Liverpool had to the Europa League final. Midway through the season, Brendan Rogers was replaced by Jurgen Klopp, and the club began building their team for what would be their eventual 2018-19 Champions League win. It could be argued that if it wasn’t for this run to the final, then the players involved in last season’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid may not have been taught the lesson that they needed to know to win the Champions League.
Bookmakers made the Reds 8/1 outsiders to win the competition as there were big clubs in the competition in the form of Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. The Liverpool players had to deal with big occasions throughout this run to the final including their round of 16 tie against Manchester United. Liverpool beat United 2-0 in front of a rocking Anfield to set up the second leg in which they drew 1-1 to progress. This remains the only occasion that the two English heavyweights have ever locked horns in European competition.
Their reward for beating the Red Devils was a clash against Klopp’s former side Borussia Dortmund. After a 1-1 draw in Germany, the teams met back at Anfield on an evening where the atmosphere was more synonymous with something that you would expect on a Champions League night in Liverpool. After falling 2-0 behind, the Reds finally put themselves back ahead on aggregate through goals from Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho. However, Marco Reus put the German’s back on level terms, but further goals from Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren ensured a famous win for Liverpool in the Europa League.
They beat Villarreal in the semi-finals to set up a final against Unai Emery’s Sevilla in Switzerland. The Reds went ahead through Daniel Sturridge, but the reigning Europa League champions taught them a European lesson in the second half after goals from Kevin Gameiro and a brace from Coke ensured a famous win. Without the lessons that were taught in this game, Liverpool wouldn’t have gone on to win the Champions League in 2018-19, and be among the favourite to regain the trophy in the 2019-20 season. At present bookmakers make Liverpool the third favourites to win the Champions League in 2019-20, and without their efforts in the Europa League, they wouldn’t have learnt the vital lessons of football on the continent.