Can Reds make it across finish line and seal Champions League? – Liverpool FC May Preview

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Liverpool have four games left to play before the end of the season, with May proving crucial to their Champions League hopes for 2017/18.

May was always due to be a defining month for the Reds, with Jurgen Klopp and his squad setting their sights high at the start of the season, targeting the top four.

With the influx of big-name managers and costly summer signings, Liverpool’s rivals continued to improve ahead of 2016/17, and it has boiled down to a tense finale in the Premier League.

Having rounded off April with a miserable 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace, Klopp’s side need a strong finish over the next month to ensure they achieve their goal.

Here’s what we can look forward to from the Reds over the next month, along with a guide to the Liverpool U23s and U18s as the season reaches its conclusion.

 

First-Team Fixtures

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 23, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first goal against Crystal Palace from a free-kick during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Sydney FC (A) – Friendly – May 24, 11am KO – TV info TBC

All times BST, all TV information based on UK schedule.

 

Form Guide & Talking Points

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 23, 2017: Liverpool's Divock Origi, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and Lucas Leiva look dejected as Crystal Palace score the winning second goal during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-L-W-W-D-W-D-W-W-L


Defeat to Palace was certainly a setback for the Reds, but assessing their form since the beginning of March is certainly encouraging.

Victories over Arsenal and Everton, and a draw with Man City, further underlined their credentials against the top sides.

But more importantly, they were also able to defeat Burnley, Stoke City and West Brom, showcasing a new-found mettle against sides that undermined their title charge in the first half of the season.

With Watford, Southampton, West Ham and Middlesbrough to come, they will need to recover from their loss to the Eagles and harness that grit once again.

Likely vying with City, Arsenal and Man United for two spots in the top four between now and May, it will be these performances against the Premier League‘s lesser lights that make the difference.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 25, 2016: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the first goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The return of Daniel Sturridge, having feared to have been ruled out for the rest of the season, could give the Reds a major lift as they plot for a strong finish.

Sturridge is far from the focal point of the Liverpool squad anymore, but he remains a proven, top-level goalscorer, and if he can remain fit, he will provide Klopp with an invaluable option.

With West Ham among the clubs pursuing a move for the 27-year-old at the end of the season, May could present Sturridge his Merseyside swansong.

Another key figure ready to return for May is Adam Lallana, who has been absent since the March international break, and the way in which the England duo reintegrates will be crucial.

If the midfielder is able to recapture his pre-injury form, Liverpool may pick up a real advantage.

 

Liverpool U23s

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Easter Monday, April 17, 2017: Liverpool's Matthew Virtue [3rd from Left] celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match at Holmes Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-W-W-W-L-D-W-W-W-W


All times BST, all TV information based on UK schedule.


April was a bittersweet month for the Liverpool U23s as, while they lost just once and won four of their six games, they saw rivals Everton lift the Premier League 2 title.

Their final game of the league campaign comes against the Toffees on May 8, giving them an opportunity for a last swipe at their Blues counterpart before a summer of preparation.

There is also the small matter of the Lancashire Senior Cup final, where they will face off against either Blackburn Rovers or Fleetwood Town, who play their semi-final on May 2.

With Klopp opting for experience as he pushes for the top four, it is likely that Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marko Grujic, Ovie Ejaria, Harry Wilson and Ben Woodburn will be among those included in Mike Garrity’s squad for May.

 

Liverpool U18s

ALTRINGHAM, ENGLAND - Friday, March 10, 2017: Liverpool's academy coach Steven Gerrard congratulates his team after a 2-2 draw with Manchester United during an Under-18 FA Premier League Merit Group A match at Moss Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): D-L-W-W-D-W-D-L-L-L


All times BST, all TV information based on UK schedule.


The U18s have it all to play for in May, as they look to finish top of the table and seal their place in next season’s UEFA Youth League.

Standing in their way are Lee Carsley’s Man City, who will present a major challenge to the young Reds’ hopes having topped the North Division in the first league stage.

May could be an opportunity to supporters to see the new breed come through, ahead of Steven Gerrard’s promotion into the role of U18s coach next season, as Neil Critchley moves to the U23s.

Gerrard will be watching intently, having already outlined his vision for the future at Kirkby.

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