- Premier League
Rodgers: Euro absence could be a blessing
Liverpool could benefit from a season out of Europe as they bid to build a squad strong enough to compete at the top of the Premier League, according to Brendan Rodgers.
The Reds manager faces a battle to secure European qualification for next season, as his side lie seventh in the Premier League with six games to go.
A place in the Champions League looks to be out of reach as they are nine points adrift of a top-four spot.
Even qualification for the Europa League, which would only be guaranteed by finishing fifth, looks a difficult task. Liverpool have seven points to make up on Arsenal, who currently occupy fifth spot.
Rodgers wants to be in Europe next season, but feels that being able to concentrate solely on domestic competitions in the 2013-14 campaign might benefit the club in the long term.
Having guided Liverpool to the Europa League's last-32 this season, Rodgers said: "It's a double-edged sword for us. We want to be in Europe, the players want to be in there, the supporters want to be in there.
"As a manager, it's a great test, and I really enjoy those games. I really enjoyed the Europa League this year.
"But you could argue that having one season out of Europe would give us an even greater chance next season of really challenging at the top of the league in that top four, because that is a really difficult task now with the number of teams up there, and with the finances involved, that are way beyond what we have.
"This would give us a really good run to do that. But ultimately, we're a club who want to be in Europe. We want to have a squad strong enough to cope with European football and the domestic league and cups.
"We're going to finish as high as we can. If we don't get into Europe, it might be a blessing for us next year. But we are certainly a club who want to be in European football."