Liverpool fans debate whether Reds will finish in the top four this season

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Liverpool have a huge three months ahead of them, as they look to secure a place in next season’s Champions League. Will they finish in the top four?

It has been a bitterly disappointing start to 2017 for the Reds, with just one win in 10 matches, in all competitions.

Any chance of the title is now long gone, and the sole focus for Jurgen Klopp and his players is finishing in the Champions League places.

It is something that has to happen this season, in order to stay in touch with rivals, both financially and in terms of attracting top players.

We asked some of the This Is Anfield regulars what they think about Liverpool’s chances of ending this bleak run of form and securing a top-four finish – with some more optimistic than others!

 

Jack Lusby

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Yes. There has been an element of overreaction (myself included) to the Reds’ form in 2017, but the fact remains that we are still only one point off fourth and have an extremely favourable run-in between now and May.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Chelsea during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We’ve still got to play Leicester (A), Burnley (H), Bournemouth (H), Stoke (A), West Brom (A), Palace (H), Watford (A), West Ham (A) and Middlesbrough (H), among others, and unlike all their other top-four rivals – for better or worse – the sole focus is now on the Premier League.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

I’m going for Arsenal and Man United.

Arsenal because they look set for their near-inevitable implosion in the second-half of the season, and the malaise surrounding their two best players, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, is a big distraction, while I feel United will fall just short due to certain failings in their squads and their congested schedule.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Spurs
3. City
4. Liverpool
5. Man United
6. Arsenal

 

Sachin Nakrani

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Had we beaten Hull, I’d have said yes, but not now, not after Saturday’s spirit-crushing defeat. Any momentum gained from the draw with Chelsea was lost and Liverpool, sadly, will now fail to reclaim a Champions League place.

Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool (r) celebrates the equalising goal during the English Premier League match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool. Picture date: January 31st, 2017. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage via PA Images

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

Liverpool – all sorts of reasons, principally; a lack of squad depth brutally exposed by injuries and tiredness. Their collective confidence also appears to be shot. Games will be won between now and the end of the season but not enough for the team to recover the ground lost during the past few weeks.

Arsenal – at some point their 1,803-year run of always qualifying for the Champions League has to come to an end, and this feels like the year. There is unrest among the supporters (again) and also among the players (Sanchez, Ozil), and overall there is a real end-of-era feel about the club. Arsene Wenger’s time is surely up in the summer.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Tottenham
4. Man United
5. Liverpool
6. Arsenal

 

Emma Sanders

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

I predicted at the start of the season we would just nudge the fourth spot. Our excellent start gave us a much-needed advantage.

I’ll back us to do it but recent performances threaten to undo all the hard work we put in at the start and if our form doesn’t pick up very soon, we could be in danger of missing out.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

If it isn’t us, I think Man United and Arsenal will miss out. United have looked great recently but they had a poor start and have dropped points against the top teams.

We need teams above to slip up now. Arsenal still have some tough fixtures ahead too and I don’t think they have the strength to come out on top against Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Tottenham
3. Man City
4. Liverpool
5. Man United
6. Arsenal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates after saving a Chelsea penalty during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

Matt Ladson

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Tough question. I’m going to say yes, purely based on the last eight games of the season in April and May. If we get some momentum there, and win six of them – which is, on paper, very achievable – we’ll scrape in.

The problem of course is that those games against the lesser sides have been our downfall. Sort that out and a top-four finish is possible.

The hope has to be that Man United, Man City, Arsenal and Spurs are slightly distracted by European commitments.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

Just as tough a question. It’s very hard to predict as all the other five are in very good form. I’ll go with Arsenal and Man City, but expecting City to do very well in the Champions League.

I expect Jose Mourinho will do whatever is required to finish in the top-four – and United and Spurs will both field weakened teams in Europa League in order to continue league form. Perhaps Arsene Wenger’s time is finally up.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Spurs
3. Man United
4. Liverpool
5. Man City
6. Arsenal

 

Henry Jackson

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Yes. Simple as that. This current slump is worrying, without a doubt, but Liverpool have had a relentless run of games and numerous key players have not been fully fit.

Once they are playing just once a week, and the likes of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip are at their sharpest, the Reds will go on a strong run.

Their final eight games are very kind, and while some will point to Liverpool’s achilles heel being against lesser sides, some of those opponents will have nothing to play for and be on the beach come April and May.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

I’ve written off Arsenal time and time again and looked foolish in recent years, but I really do think they will fail to finish in the top-four this time.

Key players appear unhappy, the same errors are being made, and unlike previous seasons, there are five strong teams to contend with at the top.

I think Man United will miss out, too. They have been over-hyped by some, and although their recent form is impressive, they are far from perfect. Europa League could also be a distraction.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Tottenham
4. Liverpool
5. Man United
6. Arsenal

 

Karl Matchett

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

It’s still so incredibly close and very much possible, it’s only current form which keeps the answer from being a resounding yes.

Teams have gone on a four-month funk before so it’s not impossible that the Reds go into free-fall, but it only takes two positive results on the spin for confidence to change (especially with the run of games coming up).

Whatever it takes, results must be better against Spurs, Arsenal and City before Everton, and then yes, the top four is still there for Liverpool to finish in.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

Arsenal are going to miss out. Their mentality is why, it’s exactly the same as it always is: incapable when the pressure is on the most. Usually that is in terms of a two or three-team title race, this time it’s a six-horse race for four places.

I’ll also say Man United, because it’s us or them, and that’s no question at all, really.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Spurs
4. Liverpool
5. Arsenal
6. Man United

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 25, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp looks dejected after Southampton sealed a 1-0, 2-0 on aggregate, victory during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

James Nalton

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Yes, the quality of the attacking players at Klopp’s disposal, if they remain fit, should see them scrape into fourth.

The head-to-head games against Spurs, Arsenal and Man City are vital and Klopp has a good record in these games against top sides. Dropped points will inevitably come in so-called winnable games, so getting points against top-four challengers is important.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

Arsenal and Man United. The latter should keep pace with the pack but could even miss out on goal difference. Spurs have a clear game-plan and have assembled a quality side over the past three or four years, while City have an attack so good that Sergio Aguero can’t even get a game.

Arsenal look as lost as Liverpool at the moment, but the arrival of Klopp in the Premier League could finally see the legendary Wenger miss out on the top four.

Plus, of the five teams behind Chelsea, Liverpool are the only ones who don’t have European competition to contend with.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Spurs
4. Liverpool
5. Man United
6. Arsenal

 

Ben Twelves

Will Liverpool finish in the top-four?

Finishing fourth is still more than achievable, and for me it would represent a productive campaign despite the collapse.

As much as I desperately hope we finish in the top-four, I just don’t believe we will, sadly. We look like a team whose race has run out of energy and ideas.

Which two teams will miss out, and why?

Alongside us, I think (hope!) Man United will miss out too.

I think they’ll fancy their chances of winning the Europa League so I can see them making a concentrated effort to win it, which will derail their league campaign as it did earlier in the season at times.

How will the top-six look in May?

1. Chelsea
2. Tottenham
3. Man City
4. Arsenal
5. Man United
6. Liverpool

 

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