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The big teams in danger of qualifying for the Europa Conference League

Ross Jackson
May 13, 2021, 8:45 PM GMT+1
The Europa Conference League kicks off next season
The Europa Conference League kicks off next season / FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images
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We've all laughed and joked about the prospect of big clubs being 'forced' to participate in the Europa Conference League, but if we're completely honest half of us don't even know how you qualify for it.

There's that many caveats and provisos, though with just a few weeks of the season remaining the picture has become a whole lot clearer.

Jurgen Klopp
A bad year for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool would be compounded by Europa Conference League qualification / Pool/Getty Images

For those of you who are still a little unsure, in terms of Europe's biggest leagues places will be given to the teams who finish fourth in the Portuguese top flight, fifth in the French top flight and sixth in the English, Spanish, Italian and German top flight.

Just as a side note, a bunch of cup permutations mean that seventh place in England will seal the qualification spot this season. Manchester City won the Carabao Cup and will be in next season's Champions League as Premier League winners, while FA Cup finalists Chelsea and Leicester are currently part of the top four, meaning two Europa League spots would go to fifth and sixth, with the Conference place dropping to seventh. Still with us?

So, boring admin part over with, let's take a look at the biggest clubs around Europe who are in danger of qualifying for the Europa Conference League.

Juventus

Just imagine Cristiano Ronaldo in the Europa Conference League
Just imagine Cristiano Ronaldo in the Europa Conference League / MB Media/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo playing in the Europa Conference League just shouldn't be allowed.

Juventus may well still qualify for this season's Champions League given they're just a point off the top four with two games to play, though sixth place Lazio are hot on their heels.

If Simone Inzaghi's side win their game in hand they'll be just two points behind the Old Lady and with Andrea Pirlo's side facing champions Inter at the weekend, their Champions League dreams could turn into a Europa Conference League nightmare.

Tottenham

One of the best strikers in the world could be playing in Europe's third tier club competition
One of the best strikers in the world could be playing in Europe's third tier club competition / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Similarly to the above, Harry Kane playing in the Europa Conference League just shouldn't be allowed.

It's bad enough that he's found himself playing in the Europa League this season, let alone the Conference League.

Tottenham have endured a shambolic season with Jose Mourinho paying the ultimate price back in April. Despite wins over Southampton and Sheffield United, the recent loss to Leeds was a big slip-up in their bid for Europa League football. Unless they steal ahead of Liverpool or West Ham or drop below Everton or Arsenal, they'll be in the Conference next season.

Lazio

Simone Inzaghi looked destined for sixth spot in Serie A
Simone Inzaghi looked destined for sixth spot in Serie A / Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Alright, so they're hardly Barcelona, but that doesn't mean they aren't a massive club.

Lazio have had their peaks and troughs in recent years but they're still a big name in European football, and having returned to the Champions League this season for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign it'll feel like a kick in the teeth being in the Europa Conference League.

Simone Inzaghi's side currently occupy sixth spot in Serie A - the dreaded qualification spot - though they are just five points of Juventus with a game in hand.

Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be lucky to be playing in the Europa Conference League
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be lucky to be playing in the Europa Conference League / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Well they'd be lucky.

Arsenal have welcomed European football to north London every single season for the past 26 campaigns, though that run is in serious danger of coming to an end.

Mikel Arteta's men saw their Champions League hopes dashed as they were knocked out of the Europa League semi-final by Villarreal, meaning their league standing is their only chance of European qualification.

The Gunners are currently ninth in the Premier League, though they've played at least one game more than the majority of the sides above them and they look like missing out on Europe entirely - though it's not out of the question.

Marseille

Jorge Sampaoli has only recently taken over at Marseille
Jorge Sampaoli has only recently taken over at Marseille / John Berry/Getty Images

Again, they're not exactly a giant of a European club but certainly big enough to warrant a place on our list.

Marseille have been pretty abject this season and never really looked like building on their superb 2019/20 campaign.

Jorge Sampaoli's men finished in second place last season and, having experienced the bright lights of the Champions League for the first time in seven years, their only chance of European football this season is the recently founded UEFA third tier competition.

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah's future at Liverpool could be decided by their final league standing
Mohamed Salah's future at Liverpool could be decided by their final league standing / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Imagine going from 2019 Champions League winners and 2020 Premier League winners to the Europa Conference League - what a fall from grace.

Liverpool could be dining at Europe's top table next season or they could be in the third tier competition - it really is that close.

Jurgen Klopp's side have offered a miserable defence of their title and now face a real battle to secure a place in the top four. A ninth place finish is just as possible as a third place finish and you'd have to think they'd sooner prefer no European football at all than the Europa Conference League.

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