Everton and former Republic of Ireland midfielder Lee Carsley has welcomed Uefa’s decision to award a Champions League place to Merseyside rivals and defending champions Liverpool.

The ‘Pool were in danger of being denied the chance to take part in the 2005/06 competition as a result of finishing outside the top four of the Premiership.

But Uefa altered its regulations on Friday, allowing the Reds to take their place in the first qualifying round next month.

And journeyman midfielder Carsley, who will hope to make an unlikely impression on Europe’s premier club competition next season, greeted the news magnanimously – and then targeted a group stage meeting with their local foes.

He said: “I think if you win the trophy then you should have the right to defend it, so I suppose it is fair. It is definitely right that they have to go through qualifying because they are getting in by default.

"I wouldn’t like to get them in the qualifying round because they are obviously a very good team but it would be nice to get them in the group stages if we were both to qualify.