5 Toughest Fixtures in Liverpool’s Race for Fourth Place

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Liverpool have 14 crucial league games remaining, as they look to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2009. Henry Jackson (@OnFootballTweet) looks at which five games which could make or break the Reds season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2013: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop during the game against Crystal Palace in the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MAN UTD vs LIVERPOOL- Sunday 16th March

This clash is going to be one of the most important between Liverpool and United in many years. In recent times there has often been a large point margin between the two, but this time around they are battling directly for one place.

The gap between the two sides as it stands is seven points, and Brendan Rodgers will not want it to be much less by the time the teams meet. He needs to be bold in his tactics and not invite pressure. A Reds win would surely end United’s top four hopes.

There can no doubting that United will be hugely fired up for the occasion, and Liverpool will need to be resolute at times. With Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney all potentially firing, it won’t be an easy afternoon.

CARDIFF vs LIVERPOOL- Saturday 22nd March

This battle with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side comes in-between the United game and a home match with Spurs (mentioned below), and represents a must-win game for Brendan Rodgers and his side.

The Cardiff City Stadium can be a tough place to go, with the Welsh crowd creating a ferocious atmosphere. They have already beaten United and Manchester City there this season.

By the looks of things Cardiff are going to be right in the mix for relegation, meaning this will be as important for them as it is for Liverpool.

By the end of March you want to have as many games against mid-table sides as possible, mainly due to the fact that some of them are already on their holidays in their own mind.

LIVERPOOL vs TOTTENHAM- Sunday 30th March

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 15, 2013: Liverpool's players applaud the travelling supporters after the 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur during the Premiership match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is sure to be another top four ‘six pointer’, between arguably the two favourites to nab the final Champions League spot this season.

Liverpool romped to an outstanding 5-0 win at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, but Spurs are looking a different animal all together under Tim Sherwood. They are also particularly strong away from home.

The Reds home form has been terrific, and they need the Anfield crowd to be at their passionate best for this game. It’s impossible to tell who will be in pole position for fourth place once this game comes around, but it will go a long way to deciding who gets it.

WEST HAM vs LIVERPOOL- Saturday 5th April

Like Cardiff, it is looking as though West Ham will be right in the relegation dogfight, and by April the season will really be reaching its business end.

Upton Park can be a very tricky place to visit, and with Sam Allardyce’s direct, physical style it really will be a huge test of Liverpool’s resolve. They have allowed themselves to be bullied by these tactics in the past.

Andy Carroll will also be looking to prove a point against his former employers.

CRYSTAL PALACE vs LIVERPOOL- Saturday 3rd May

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2013: Liverpool's Luis Alberto in action against Crystal Palace during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Selhurst Park is a very old-school ground with terrific support, and this game has the potential to be as tough for Liverpool as some of their clashes against the Premier League‘s strongest sides.

Tony Pulis is doing a fantastic job, and is basically turning Palace into a reincarnation of his Stoke side. We all know how much Liverpool struggled against them.

The secret to matches like this is to score early and kill the game as a contest. It is the Reds penultimate league game, and is likely to be absolutely enormous for them. Will they handle the pressure with so much potentially at stake?

What do you think are Liverpool’s five toughest/most important fixtures from now until the end of the season?

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