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Why Liverpool aren't playing in Europa League this week

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A fifth-placed finish last term meant that there was to be no Champions League football on Merseyside this season, but Klopp's men are still going great guns in the Europa League.

The Reds finished top of Group E after cruising through to the knockout stages with four wins out of six and were able to rest a number of players during the two matches that they lost.

After a winter break, the competition returns to our screens this Thursday as the knockout stage gets underway, but Liverpool won't be involved.

READ MORE: Klopp embarrassed after Liverpool fume as Kompany bends Premier League rules

READ MORE: Salah drops fresh injury update as Klopp and Liverpool await return

Why aren't Liverpool playing in the Europa League this week?

Liverpool will not be playing in the Europa League this week because they qualified from the group stages as Group E winners.

The teams involved include the eight group stage runners-up plus the eight teams who have dropped into the competition after finishing third in their respective groups in the Champions League.

A draw has taken place to determine who will play who in the knockout play-off round, which will be contested over two legs on Thursday, February 15 and Thursday, February 22.

Teams who finished second in their Europa League groups were seeded above the Champions League third-place finishers meaning that the Europa League runners-up will play the second leg at home.

The Europa League runners-up were each drawn against a third-placed Champions League side but cannot play another team from the the same national association (e.g. Marseille could not be drawn to face RC Lens).

The winners of the knockout play-offs will then advance to face the group winners in the Round of 16, which is where Liverpool will recommence their journey in the competition.

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