Spurs and Liverpool must see Europa League as icing on the cake

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More often than not competitions like the Europa League, Capital One Cup and FA Cup are undervalued in the all-out pursuit for league success and top-four qualification.

This season, however, Tottenham and Liverpool have paid significant attention to all three of those tournaments and stand to reap considerable benefits as a result.

Although an injury crisis ultimately put paid to Jurgen Klopp’s FA Cup run against West Ham, the German will contest the League Cup final next week and has a favourable home tie against Augsburg on the horizon in Europe.

With a spot in the top four looking a distant prospect for the Merseyside club – Ladbrokes rate their chances at 10/1 – the former Borussia Dortmund manager can turn his full attention to a tilt at the cup double in his debut campaign in charge.

It’s arguable that Spurs are in an even healthier position in the hunt for multiple trophies this term. The Lilywhites face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup this Sunday, which they are 4/7 favourites to win, and also have an away goal to their name in their Europa League round-of-32 tie with Fiorentina.

That’s not forgetting the unprecedented Premier League title challenge they are mounting under Mauricio Pochettino, in which they lie two points behind leaders Leicester with 12 games to go.

With the league trophy glistening on the horizon, the Argentine manager must be tempted to put all his Spurs-shaped eggs in that basket. But with a strong squad depth he should target a momentous treble haul instead.

The former Southampton tactician made seven changes to his starting XI in Florence and still came out of the match with an advantageous result. If that wasn’t enough to coax a full-throttle assault in all three competitions, Spurs fans can dash all dreams of multiple trophy-winning seasons in the future.

Of course one other English team remains in the Europa League. While Manchester United cannot win any other silverware, the competition remains utterly important to their manager’s job security.

Louis van Gaal can claim Champions League qualification by winning the sister competition, although that is now a tough ask after the Red Devils lost to Danish outfit Midtylland in the first leg.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.