Former Everton manager Howard Kendall believes the Toffees deserve a Champions League berth because the Heysel riot meant they were denied a place in Europe 20 years ago.
Everton look likely to claim a place in the Champions League by finishing fourth in the Barclays Premiership but there is possible controversy on the horizon if Liverpool win this year’s competition.
As things stand, the Goodison Park side will still have priority over their Merseyside rivals, even if they become European champions.
And Kendall, whose Everton side would have played in the 1985-86 European Cup but for a ban on English fans following the Heysel disaster, believes that is only right.
He told Radio Five Live: “I think they (Evertonians) will refer back to the situation at Heysel when we won the league, we won the Cup-Winners Cup and we were looking forward to the European Cup and all of a sudden English clubs were banned for five years.
“And I think Evertonians will be looking back and thinking: ‘Oh no, not Liverpool again, denying us the opportunity.’
“We believed we were the best and we were denied the opportunity to prove it.”
Kendall also believes Everton deserve a Champions League place because of the difficulties they have overcome in holding on to fourth place behind the big three of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
“Anyone who is talking as an Evertonian,” he said, “if Everton finish fourth, we deserve to be in there.
“Everyone was tipping us for relegation with the sale of Wayne Rooney and I think they’ve done a magnificent job and I think they deserve to go into the Champions League.”