May 11, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
Liverpool agonizingly missed out on the Premier League title, but there is a big consolation prize as they will be playing in the Champions League for the first time in four years.
Brendan Rodgers targeted a return to Europe’s top competition at the beginning of the season, and while even bigger heights appeared possible for a while, they achieved their goal and much more.
However, they will now have to navigate a season filled with fixture congestion, as it seemed they benefited domestically this season from a lack of European play.
With one return means one miss, and the well-documented slide of Manchester United means they will miss out on the Champions League for the first time in Premier League history.
Joining Liverpool in next year’s competition will be the league champions Manchester City, plus Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Gunners will be relieved they maintained their Champions League status, with Everton on their heels for much of the stretch run. Had they missed out, the possibility for a number of star players to leave would be high. Chelsea were the last English team left in this year’s competition, and they will look to continue their recent success in the competition, having won it as recently as two years ago.
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