- Liverpool dropped to Europa League
- Jota jokes Madrid could still haunt them
- Portugal star admits UEL is a 'downgrade'
WHAT HAPPENED? Liverpool were forced to settle for a place in next season's Europa League after finishing fifth in the Premier League. That will see them avoid Real Madrid, but Jota has become so used to getting knocked out by the Spanish giants that he would not be surprised if they crossed paths once again.
WHAT THEY SAID: Since joining Liverpool from Wolves in 2020, Jota has been knocked out by Madrid in the 2022 final, the quarter finals in 2021 and then the last-16 last year.
He told FourFourTwo: "[Real Madrid] can somehow finish third in their [Champions League] group and still be in our way. But since I came to Liverpool, I’ve always got knocked out by Real Madrid, so hopefully they’re not there [in the Europa League]."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 26-year-old feels a year in the Europa League will be disappointing for the club's fans, but he says they should take it seriously regardless, adding: “I played in the Europa League before with Wolves. Although the fans are used to playing in the Champions League every single year and it will feel like a downgrade, it’s still a prestigious competition. We’ll give our best to win it."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Portugal winger Jota and his co-stars will soon return to Liverpool to begin preparations for next season as they look to improve on their disappointing 2022-23 campaign.