Newcastle can take a giant leap towards European football for next season today, without even kicking a ball!
Liverpool take on Everton this afternoon in an FA Cup semi-final which could have a huge bearing on whether or not we end up in Europe next season.
Of course we’re in the box seat the qualify for the Europa League anyway, and still, rather surprisingly, have a chance of making the Champions League. However the right result today will give us a form of safety net and will ensure that we need only four points from the remaining Premier League games to secure at least Europa League football for next season.
The right result would be a Liverpool win of course, as it would mean that 6th place in the Premier League would guarantee a Europa League spot while an Everton win would mean that 5th place would be needed for European qualification as Everton would get the spot instead.
If Liverpool win…
This is the ideal result for Newcastle. As the other semi-final (Tottenham v Chelsea) is being contested between two sides likely to qualify for Europe, and because Liverpool have already qualified via their League Cup win, it would mean that the European spot drops to the next available league position, which is 6th.
If Everton win…
This is not good for Newcastle as Everton are likely to finish below us in the league but would qualify by virtue of taking the European place as losing finalists.
There are more permutations so it’s not quite as black and white as it seems at the moment, but right now those are the ones that matter. The message is simple, come on Liverpool! Alan Pardew agrees:
“It would suit our European hopes if Liverpool won,” Pardew told The Journal. “Everton could get through to the final and I think the rule needs to be looked at because if we finish higher than them in the Premier League, that has to be better than the runners-up in the FA Cup qualifying for the Europa League.”
“If Everton win the FA Cup, I’d say, ‘Fair enough’. There would be one side of me quite pleased if we don’t qualify for Europe, because it will mean we can attack next season without having the extra pressure of the Europa League.”
“Having said that though, the other side of me would welcome it because it would take the club forward, bond some of the players to the club, and it would be an achievement of sorts. We could also perhaps add to the squad with the extra finance we’d get.”
I never thought I’d say this, and I probably never will again but, come on Liverpool!