Liverpool must take the Europa League seriously

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Liverpool fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with their side and, naturally, they've began to retaliate their dissatisfaction at Brendan Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman has had everything he wanted at Anfield since taking the helm in 2012 - money especially - but he has flattered to deceive.

This season is without a doubt make or break for Rodgers. He reportedly come close to losing his job following the lacklustre sixth place finish in the Premier League last campaign but persuaded club owners Fenway Sports Group that he was the right man for the job.


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This summer proves that Rodgers has been handed even more authority in charge of Liverpool. He was given a serious amount of cash and there was no talk of the previous transfer comity that was criticised so heavily previously. The ex-Swansea City boss was too allowed to change his backroom staff after admitting he needed a fresh approach at the club.

Five games into the league and Liverpool have looked no better than they did last season in the back-end of last season. They've lacked passion, identity and the determination to win football games in defeats against West Ham United and Manchester United, much like in the dire losses against Crystal Palace and Stoke City last term.

Europa League *is* important

Rodgers' stiff task is now to convince fans he is the right man for the job - and that must start of Thursday away against Bordeaux in the Europa League.

The 43-year-old has gone trophyless during the three years he's been at the Reds, becoming the first manager at the club since the 1950s to do so.

Liverpool are a team who are glittered in history, forged through 18 league titles, five European Cups and seven FA Cups. Naturally, Kopites have developed a craving for silverware and that is something they've not tasted in a long time.

The League Cup in 2012 was the last trophy Liverpool won. With the greatest respect to the competition, it is deemed inferior by many - the 'Mickey Mouse Cup' is how some describe it.

The Europa League doesn't have the gleaming similarities as the Champions League; however, it is a tournament that Liverpool fans would be grateful to win and would help bolster Rodgers' trust.

Liverpool's key ambition this season is a top-four finish in the league and a place in next campaign's Champions League. However, based on Liverpool's effort in the tournament last season, it comes as no surprise that fans have no faith in Rodgers in Europe.

Should have done better last season

The Reds were drawn alongside Real Madrid, FC Basel and Bulgarian rookies Ludogorets Razgrad in the Group B of the Champions League last season. There was so much ambition heading into the competition - "we're back where we belong" was many supporters' moto.

However, Liverpool's effort in Europe's elite club competition was significantly underwhelming. Second place was their aim in Group B - it was going to be difficult to finish higher than then-holders Real Madrid -  but the Reds scooped just five points from six matches and finished third in the group and were dumped into the Europa League. 

They didn't fare much better there, either, and were knocked out by Besiktas the same round they entered.

Liverpool want nothing better than to become a fore in Europe once again. Under the reign of Rafa Benitez, the Reds were Champions League heavyweights and were respected by every team they came up against.

Given Rodgers' record in Europe, there is no trust in him. During his maiden season at Anfield, Liverpool were dumped out of the Europa League by Zenit St. Petersburg in the last 32 of the competition and his failures last campaign still leave a sour taste in many people's mouths.

Rodgers' resume on the continent is one that is distinctly poor and, if he is to be Liverpool's long-term manager, he must prove himself, starting this season.

There too is the dangling carrot from a stick.

Whereas many managers previously justified their reasons of not taking the Europa League seriously was because it meant a lack of focus on the league - this excuse is no more. With a guaranteed spot in the following seasons Champions League for the winner, it means that the competition can be taken seriously.

Of course, a highest finish possible is desired but, if things do go to pot in the league, the safety harness is available which could, potentially, save Rodgers' job if domestic form does not improve. 

Most importantly, however, is that the Europa League is a trophy that would be welcomed at Anfield.

Given the gruelling process of the tournament is, it displays that a team is united and is hungry for success. That is, after all, the biggest doubt around Rodgers' men and he has to answer those critics in the best manner possible.

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Premier League
Brendan Rodgers
Europa League

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