Europa League: What do Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton need to reach knockout stage?

Liverpool and West Ham top their groups but Brighton - and Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League - have work to do

Karl Matchett
Thursday 30 November 2023 09:11 GMT
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Gakpo on Liverpool's change of form this season

Two rounds of matches remain in both the Europa League and the Europa Conference League group stages, with four Premier League clubs looking to be in the knockout phase in the new calendar year.

Here we run down what the quartet need - plus the Scottish Premiership representatives - from their final fixtures to get into the last 16 of each competition, or at least the playoffs.

Only the group winners go straight through to the last 16, while runners-up first face a two-legged tie against a team dropping down from the Uefa competition above. Get the latest Europa League odds here.

Europa League: Group A

West Ham United are well-placed to progress but it’s not quite yet job done for David Moyes team, even though they sit top. The good news is that if they win at bottom-placed Backa Topola on Thursday night they’ll be guaranteed progression, and a draw at home to Freiburg on Matchday 6 would then seal top spot.

Group B

Brighton and Hove Albion’s poor start has been swept aside by back-to-back wins over Ajax and they sit second, one point behind Marseille and three ahead of AEK Athens. It’s the latter they now travel to on MD5; a draw here and at home in the last game would mean they definitely finish second and face a Champions League third-placed team. However, losing to AEK and winning the last match would need AEK to drop points at Ajax, else they’d finish third and drop to the Conference. Either way, it’s likely they’ll need to beat Marseille if they want to finish top, but not losing to AEK is the immediate priority.

Group C

Rangers are second and well-placed for a play-off spot, which will be guaranteed if they beat last-placed Aris Limassol on MD5. That would leave a last-night trip to Betis as a decider for first, with Rangers currently two points off the pace.

Group E

Liverpool are two points clear at the top and a win at home to LASK, fourth, on MD5 will guarantee top two. If they win and Toulouse fail to beat Union SG, the Reds will be guaranteed first place before the final match, when they head to Union.

Europa Conference League: Group E

Aston Villa sit second but level on points with Legia Warsaw, who are first. They play each other on MD5 with Villa as hosts. Legia won 3-2 in the reverse so victory here for Unai Emery’s team by two goals or more guarantees top spot for them by virtue of head-to-head, while a draw would leave them second ahead of a final fixture away to Zrinjski. One point from two games guarantees at least second for Villa.

Group G

It’s already all over for Aberdeen, who are third but with no competition to drop down to. They are seven points behind Eintracht Frankfurt, ten behind PAOK and one point above Finnish side HJK, who they play tonight in a battle to avoid coming last.

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