Arsene Wenger has spoken in his pre-match press conference about the possibility that the number of English clubs in the Champions League could fall from four to three in the near future, with Premier League clubs consistently falling out of European competitions early and damaging the league’s co-efficient.
The Arsenal boss said that England’s Europa League clubs, like Liverpool and Tottenham, had to take their share of the responsibility and take the competition seriously, which has not always been the case in the past.
Wenger said: “It is a possibility that we will have to repair in the coming months. It’s not only the Champions League teams who are involved in that, it’s Europa League teams as well. We have suffered from the Europa League teams not having taken the competition seriously
recently as well.”
Liverpool in particular will be in his cross-hairs, having failed to win on Thursday against Bordeaux in a game which the Reds fielded a number of young players in an effort to rest their first-teamers so that they could push for fourth place in the Premier League – ironically, the position which will become meaningless if they don’t pull their fingers out and start winning matches in Europe’s second continental tournament.
The Reds face Norwich on Sunday as they look to climb the table after a mediocre start to the season, against whom they have scored five goals in three of their last four meetings. It’s also over 20 years since a Liverpool side lost to the Canaries, winning nine games and drawing one solitary match in that time.
Brendan Rodgers is expected to welcome back at least five players who were rested for the midweek fixture, including the likes of Christian Benteke, James Milner and Martin Skrtel – while Philippe Coutinho will make his first Premier League appearance since the international break after coming back from suspension.