Liverpool's chances of Europa League glory predicted by supercomputer

Liverpool are the favourites to win the Europa League this season, with Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen rated as the Reds' closest rivals, according to Opta's predictions.

Jurgen Klopp's side face Sparta Prague in the first leg of the last 16 this Thursday, as they continue their bid to reach the final in Dublin.

Liverpool have been the bookmakers' favourites for the trophy since the start of the tournament, while the Europa League represents the one major competition Klopp has entered as Reds manager but not won.

Should he and Liverpool make it all the way to the final, that showdown would represent the manager's final match in charge, with the showpiece fixture set for 22 May after the end of the Premier League season.

Liverpool predicted Europa League winners

According to the calculations of data analysts Opta, the Reds have a 45.5% chance of making it to Dublin and a 29.9% chance of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2001.

No side has a better projected percentage chance of glory than Liverpool, according to Opta, with Leverkusen — still unbeaten this season and managed by Alonso — ranked as the next most likely winners on 21.7%.

Milan, Benfica and Sporting CP are next but none even garner a 10% likelihood.

Last season's Conference League winners West Ham are seen as the English side with the next best chance after Liverpool, but are only given a 4.6% probability of ending the tournament as winners.

Meanwhile, Rangers are ranked as the second-least likely to get their hands on the trophy (ahead of only Qarabag) and are rated at just 0.6% — despite finishing as runners-up in the competition as recently as 2022.

Opta's projections are similar to previous predictions from OLBG's self-described 'SuperComputer', which gave the Reds a 30.6% chance of winning the Europa League earlier this year.

Jurgen Klopp

Brentford v Liverpool Premier League 17/02/2024. Liverpool Manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates at full-time during the Premier League match between Brentford and Liverpool at Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford, England on 17 February 2024. Brentford Gtech Community Stadium Greater London England Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com , Copyright: xPaulxPhelanx PSI-19061-0028

While Liverpool may have the numbers behind them, Klopp is not getting carried away.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's game, the Liverpool boss insisted he is focussed on one game at a time, with his side still in the hunt for three more trophies this season.

The manager told reporters: “As far as I know it is the only game we play tomorrow night so that’s the most important game we have. We don’t make any difference.

“We would not have won the League Cup, we would not be in the next round of the FA Cup, we would not still be in the Europa League if we would prioritise a competition.

“We never did – maybe it would be smart if we do it, but I am a bit dumb so I don’t know how to do that, and we go in each game with all we have and hopefully you will see that tomorrow night. That’s the target.”

Europa League key dates

The second leg of Liverpool's last 16 tie against Sparta Prague takes place at Anfield on Thursday, 14 March.

Should the Reds progress, the quarter-finals will be on 11 and 18 April, while the semi-finals are set for 2 and 9 May. The competition will conclude with the final in Dublin on Wednesday, 22 May.

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