When can Liverpool qualify for the Europa League knockouts?

Liverpool have just two games left of the Europa League group phase.

Jurgen Klopp's side completed the first half of their group campaign flawlessly and saw off LASK 3-1 away in Linz for the opener, before a 2-0 home win over Union Saint-Gilloise and then a thumping 5-1 victory against Toulouse.

However, a disappointing (and controversial) 3-2 defeat away in Toulouse has slowed the Reds' march to the knockouts.

Despite that loss, Liverpool remain competition favourites and can remain relatively confident of making the short trip across the Irish Sea for the final in Dublin next May if they play to their potential.

But how can the Reds confirm their place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League?

When and how do Liverpool qualify for the Europa League knockout stage?

Liverpool can secure their spot in the knockouts on Thursday on matchday five (Thursday, 30 November).

A single point at home to LASK will guarantee qualification from Group E for the Reds.

Should the Reds beat LASK for a second time, they will have 12 points after five games and could even be confirmed as group winners with a game to spare. This will only happen if the Reds beat their Austrian opponents and Toulouse fail to beat Union Saint-Gilloise.

Winning the group is a massive advantage in the Europa League, as it means bypassing the preliminary knockout round and going straight to the last 16.

How do the Europa League knockouts work?

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, May 18, 2016: The UEFA Cup trophy on display before the UEFA Europa League Final between Liverpool and Sevilla at St. Jakob-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unlike in the Champions League, there is an extra stage in the Europa League for the group runners-up to face.

After the group phase, the eight second-placed teams play a preliminary knockout round in which they are paired against one of the third-placed teams from the Champions League. The winners then take a spot in the Europa League last 16.

Group winners, of course, are exempt from this round and are secure in their passage to the last 16.

Other than that, the competition follows the traditional format, with all ties taking place over two legs (home and away) until the single event final.

Europa League knockout round dates

Should Liverpool be confirmed as Group E winners when the stage is completed in December, they won't have to play another Thursday night fixture until March when the round of 16 starts.

However, group runners-up face their playoff with the Champions League dropouts in February.

  • Preliminary knockout round – 15-22 February 2024
  • Last 16 – 7-14 March 2024
  • Quarter-finals – 11-18 April 2024
  • Semi-finals –  2-9 May 2024
  • Final – 22 May 2024

The draw dates for he preliminary round will take place on 18 December, while the last 16 draw is scheduled for 23 February.

The remaining rounds will be drawn together on 15 March.

When and where is the final?

Conveniently for Liverpool fans, the final is to be held at the 51,000-capacity Aviva Stadium in Dublin – a short trip across the Irish Sea – on Wednesday, 22 May.

How many times have Liverpool won the Europa League?

Liverpool are aiming to make it four Europa League (or UEFA Cup to give it its old name) wins this season.

The Reds have previously lifted the trophy in 1973 (under Bill Shankly), 1976 (Bob Paisley) and, most recently, 2001 (Gerard Houllier).

The Europa League remains the one major trophy Jurgen Klopp has competed in as Liverpool manager but never won.

The 56-year-old took the Reds to the final in his maiden season at Anfield in 2016, but ultimately lost 3-1 to Sevilla in Switzerland.

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