Everton prospective owners 777’s other side Standard Liege in real danger of relegation for the first time since 1921

Standard Liege have been ever present in the Belgian top flight since the 1920s. The most successful football team in the Walloon region of Belgium have won 10 league titles and eight domestic cups during their lengthy history. However, this year the side look in serious danger of leaving the top flight for the first time since re-joining it in 1921.

After a 2-1 defeat to Westerlo on Friday evening, the side sit in 11th spot, just three points outside of the bottom four. This year, the bottom four will fight it out to avoid the bottom two spots and automatic relegation from the Pro League. Whoever finishes these relegation play-offs in 14th place will face a two-legged tie against the play-off winners from the Challenger Pro League.

It caps off another bad week for owners 777. Football journalist’s Paul Brown and Philippe Auclair revealed the extent to which the multi-club ownership group are in desperate need of acquiring Premier League side Everton. The article also revealed the state of Standard Liege off the pitch, one that looks like it would get even worse if they were to be relegated.

Friday felt like a game that Standard could ill afford to lose. Their next three games are against sides in the hunt for the top six. They face leaders Union St Gilloise, Gent and Genk over the next three matchdays. While Gent are struggling at the moment, they have recovered some key players from AFCON and the Asia Cup which should help improve their results. Genk themselves just won their first game of 2024 and looked to be better.

Standard’s final game of the season will be against Eupen and could be crucial in deciding their fate. Yet is this squad good enough to keep the side in the league? Only two players (Wilfried Kanga with seven and Hayao Kawabe with six) have scored more than two goals for the club this season. Kawabe leads the side with three assists. With just 24 goals in 26 games this season, its clear to see where the side is struggling.

Union and Genk have only conceded 27 goals this season, giving them the second best defence in the league alongside Anderlecht. Gent have conceded 31, so Standard will really be up against it in the next few weeks. If they can scrape together a handful of points in the next three games and then beat struggling Eupen they should be safe, but is that really what a club with the great fanbase of Standard Liege should be aiming for?

Even if they survive to face another season in the Pro League, the fanbase will be asking serious questions of 777 and their plans for the future.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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