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McManaman: Europa League worth winning for Liverpool

Steve McManaman said Liverpool should be aiming to win the Europa League, as he urged his former club to treat the second-tier UEFA competition with respect.

Liverpool will compete in the Europa League this season after finishing sixth in the Premier League last term, and they will get their first taste of European football in 2015-16 at Bordeaux in Group B action on Thursday.

Brendan Rodgers and Co. made a swift exit from the competition last season, edged by Besiktas in the round of 32 after their elimination from the Champions League group stage.

Liverpool, though, have been told to embrace the Europa League this time around, with Champions League qualification an added incentive for the winner.

"Just ask Sevilla whether the Europa League is worth winning," McManaman said in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.

"There were some great scenes when they beat Dnipro in the final back in May to retain the trophy.

"Not only is it a big European trophy but there's the added bonus of where it takes you. It's a big prize.

"The Spanish nation was thrilled to become the first country to have five teams in the Champions League group stage.

"The fact that the winners go into the Champions League has certainly added to the prestige of the competition."

McManaman added: "The likes of Sevilla, Benfica and Valencia always really embrace it and that's what Liverpool need to do.

"When FC Midtjylland beat Southampton just to get into the group stage, they celebrated like they had won the World Cup. It only seems to be the English clubs who get a bit blase about it.

"I don't like it when teams look upon the Europa League as getting in the way of league games. Why work so hard to qualify for Europe and then not give it a real go?

"This is a trophy Liverpool should be looking to win."