AC Milan the new threat to Liverpool’s Europa League ambitions

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Liverpool secured their place in the last 16 of the Europa League with their 4-0 win over LASK on Match Day 5, and as a result, they can now forget about Europe until February, when the draw for the Round of 16 takes place.

The Reds were already the favourites to win the trophy, and now the identities of the teams set to transfer into the Europa League from the Champions League have been decided, they know who their biggest competitors will be as they aim to win the trophy for a fourth time (including UEFA Cup wins).

AC Milan drop into the Europa League mix

AC Milan is the biggest name to drop into the Europa League. Milan is now the new third favourite at 8/1. All football bets placed before the arrival of Milan still stand, meaning it won’t affect bets already placed. But the relegation of teams from the Champions League to the Europa League can make an early season football forecast on the latter competition more difficult.
Fortunately, Milan’s demotion into the competition hasn’t affected the Reds’ odds, as Liverpool are still the favourites at 11/5.

Who else has dropped down from the Champions League?

As has been the format for some years now, all the teams finishing third in their respective Champions League groups drop into the Europa League. Coming into the competition from the Champions League along with Milan are Galatasaray, Lens, Braga, Benfica, Feyenoord, Young Boys and Shakhtar.
Of those teams, Italian giants Milan looks like the biggest threat on paper. The Italians booked their place in the Europa League by coming from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1 at St James Park. The win secured Milan third place in Group F of the Champions League at the expense of Eddie Howe’s team.
The eight former Champions League teams will take their place in the competition at the play-off stage, meaning they might not make it to the actual Round of 16. But they still pose a threat to the Reds’ prospects of winning the Europa League, along with the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and Roma – two of the previous betting favourites alongside Klopp’s team.
Jurgen Klopp would expect his team to beat any of those sides over two legs. But no one in football would want to play Jose Mourinho’s Roma team over a one-off match in a final. Two legs, yes. But a one-off, no. Mourinho took his Roma team to the final of this competition last season and only lost on penalties to serial winners Sevilla in what was a dog with fleas of a match.

No Sevilla to deal with this season

Fortunately, Sevilla are a team that Liverpool won’t have to encounter in the competition. The Spaniards finished bottom of Group B in the Champions League and were knocked out of the competition, as were the Premier League’s Newcastle United and the red half of Manchester.
As Reds fans know only too well, Sevilla can’t be underestimated in the Europa League. They defeated Klopp in his first European final with the Reds in 2016. But Liverpool fans can take heart from the fact that behind the Spaniards, the Reds are the joint-second most successful team in this competition with three wins.

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