What Premier League teams need to reach Europa League and Europa Conference League knockout stage

  • Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham are in the Europa League and Aston Villa in the Conference League
  • All four teams will fancy their chances of going deep in Europe this season
  • Only one Premier League side has secured top spot in their Europa League group

Aston Villa are among four English teams in the Europa League and Europa Conference League
Aston Villa are among four English teams in the Europa League and Europa Conference League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

As the group stages of this year's European competitions draw to a close, it's crunch time for Premier League teams.

While it's sometimes easy to get dazzled by the bright lights of the Champions League, there is still plenty to play for in the Europa League and Europa Conference League.

For Liverpool, Brighton and West Ham in the Europa League and Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League, it has been a hugely successful group stage campaign so far as Premier League sides continue to thrive on the continent.

Here are what the Premier League teams need to qualify for the Europa League and Europa Conference League knockout stages.


Joao Pedro
Joao Pedro has been in brilliant form in the Europa League / Milos Bicanski/GettyImages

It's fair to say that Brighton have enjoyed their maiden European campaign. The Seagulls were drawn into a tough group with Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens but, despite a slow start, have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Joao Pedro's penalty in a 1-0 win over AEK Athens secured their passage to the knockout rounds, although they are still not certain of whether they will finish first or second in Group B.

Roberto De Zerbi's side find themselves a point off table-topping Marseille with a game to spare, Brighton welcoming the Ligue 1 outfit to the AMEX Stadium in their final group game. If they can find a way to beat the French side, with whom they drew 2-2 at the Stade Velodrome, they will top the group.

That could be hugely significant for the south coast side, with group winners qualifying automatically for the round of 16. Teams that finish second will have to play one of the clubs that dropped out of the Champions League over two legs in the round of 32.


Luis Diaz
Liverpool have secured their spot in the knockouts / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Liverpool have the joy of travelling to Union Saint-Gilloise in their final Europa League group game in the knowledge they have safely secured top spot in Group E.

With Toulouse only managing a draw with USG in their last match and the Reds hammering LASK 4-0 at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp's men are guaranteed a first-place finish.

Given the relative lack of quality in their group, Liverpool's qualification was pretty much always assured, but a defeat to Toulouse in their fourth game had thrown a slight spanner in the works. However, the Merseyside club ultimately qualified with ease and will move directly into the round of 16.

West Ham United

West Ham have made it into the knockouts / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/GettyImages

Much like Brighton and Liverpool, David Moyes' West Ham have also booked their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League after Tomas Soucek's late goal against Serbian side Backa Topola and Olympiacos' defeat to Freiburg last time out.

However, the Hammers haven't secured first place in Group A just yet, with a clash against second-placed side Freiburg in their final match. Both sides sit on 12 points, but due to West Ham's superior head-to-head record, the Premier League outfit only need a point at the London Stadium to qualify in top spot.

If they manage a draw or victory against the Germans on Thursday 14 December, they will avoid two extra round of 32 matches.

Aston Villa

Alex Moreno
Aston Villa booked their spot after beating Legia Warsaw / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Aston Villa had already secured their place in the knockout rounds prior to their clash with Legia Warsaw at Villa Park in group game five, but their 2-1 victory over the Polish side has put them in pole position to top their Europa Conference League group.

If Villa had won by two goals against Legia, they would have guaranteed first place by virtue of a better head-to-head record, but Unai Emery's side should top Group E regardless.

Assuming second-placed Legia beat AZ Alkmaar in their final game, Villa would only need a point to make it directly to the round of 16. They travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina to face Zrinjski on 14 December.

Should Legia beat AZ and Aston Villa lose to Zrinjski, with the Polish side enjoying a victory that moves them above Villa on goal difference, Emery's men would finish runners-up, thus forcing them to play a Europa League side in a two-legged tie in the round of 32.