Liverpool face a battle to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Liverpool face an enormous hurdle at the Santiago Bernabeu this evening in the second leg of their round-of-16 Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
Defeated 5-2 at Anfield in the first leg on February 21, the Reds will have to produce a Herculean fightback in order to punch their ticket through to the quarter-finals of a competition where they were runners-up in last season.
For Liverpool, the importance of their success in European football’s elite knockout club competition is well documented and their struggles domestically in the Premier League this season have cast some doubt on whether or not they will be able to count on Champions League money next season, with a top-four spot by no means assured given the patchy form that has dogged them throughout 2022/23.
A lack of Champions League football would be impactful to the Reds and their bottom line, although the need to strengthen and spend this coming summer wouldn’t be diminished given the requirement to ensure any kind of top-four drop off this season doesn’t happen for successive seasons. Such a slump would cause issues for not only the prize money that comes into the club but also the ability to sign and retain top talent, as well as some commercial deals that have been inked that may have clauses attached to on-pitch performance.
Liverpool published their financial accounts for the year ending May 2022 earlier this month, the headline figure being that the club had been able to drive revenues up to £594m, a rise of £107m, with their pre-tax profit standing at £7.5m.
In the last financial year, the value of Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final was estimated by football finance expert Swiss Ramble to be worth around €117.6m (£103.8m) for 2021/22. It was a season when the Reds won all six of their group stage games.
This season the competition has been worth around €82m (£72.4m) to Liverpool, a figure that was boosted by them winning five of their six group games. But given the size of the task that lies ahead in Madrid this evening, seeing that €82m figure rise any higher seems unlikely.
Since the 2017/18 financial year there has been Champions League money featuring in the Liverpool accounts, money that has significantly aided the revenue growth of the club and the subsequent valuation of the club as a business.
Over those last five financial years, the Reds’ total Champions League prize money has come out at around €478m (£422m), a figure that lags only behind Manchester City’s €479m (£422.8m). It sits comfortably ahead of the next best, the 2021 winners Chelsea, who have achieved €400m (£353m). Manchester United’s patchy recent history in Europe has seen them well off the pace compared to Liverpool, with European revenues of €321m (£283.4m) over the same period, according to insights from Swiss Ramble.
A drop into the Europa League for next season would be impactful given that average revenue sits at around a quarter of what Jurgen Klopp side’s earned from last season’s Champions League run.