Liverpool Qualify for Champions League: Latest Comments and Reaction

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2014

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Suarez after their team beats Manchester City 3-2 in their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Sunday April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super

Liverpool qualified for next season's Champions League on Sunday after they beat Norwich at Carrow Road. 

The club confirmed the news on Twitter:

Although Brendan Rodgers' side are on the brink of capturing this year's Premier League title, supporters will be pleased to see an official confirmation of entry into next season's elite European competition.

The Champions League is a historic tournament for Anfield followers, who have enjoyed five famous cup victories since 1977's initial triumph against Borussia Monchengladbach. Liverpool also won the continent's top prize in '78, '81, '84, and most recently, 2005.

It is undoubtedly the side's last European final that remains in the memory. Trailing 3-0 against AC Milan at half-time, it seemed all hope was lost as both sides entered the Ataturk Olympic Stadium dressing rooms in Istanbul.

Steven Gerrard's terrific header provided Liverpool with hope 10 minutes after the interval. Two minutes later, Vladimir Smicer's long-range strike found its way beyond Dida to spark thoughts of a memorable comeback. Xabi Alonso completed a six-minute sweep after slotting home the rebound from his saved penalty on the hour mark, eventually sending the game to spot-kicks.

As Liverpool's folklore reminds us, Jerzy Dudek's "spaghetti legs" act then took inspiration from previous hero Bruce Grobbelaar, leading Liverpool to glory.

Liverpool's last Champions League appearance came in 2009-10, where the top seeds failed to escape a group including Fiorentina, Lyon and Debrecen.

Rafael Benitez was still in charge as Alberto Gilberto's last-minute strike sent the Viola through as winners during the last group match, condemning Liverpool to a Europa League adventure that would end with semi-final defeat to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

Since then, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish have failed to return Liverpool to the Champions League. Rodgers' achievement may just be the beginning for a manager who has proven himself tactically astute and versatile during his second season in charge.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 26:  Captain Steven Gerrard holds the trophy aloft as the Liverpool team ride on an open top bus through a mass of fans as they arrive at St. George's Hall during the Liverpool Champions League Victory Parade on May 26, 2005 in Li
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Dreams of replicating the 2005 success are some way off, but with Rodgers at the helm, Liverpool's fearless attitude is perfect for tackling Europe's best. The club finally seems to have shaken off the pressure of previous achievements and are looking toward a prosperous future.

With players such as Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling continuing to rip through opposition's defences, Liverpool's prospects are looking mightily sharp.

This season's aim was to cement a return to Europe's top table. With three games left, they can now switch all focus to winning this year's Premier League title.