What Liverpool need from Chelsea, Leicester and West Ham to finish in the top 4

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Liverpool still harbour hopes of finishing in the top four, but simply winning their final four games will not be enough to clinch a place in next season’s Champions League.

Speaking after the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday night, Jurgen Klopp outlined his belief that if they manage to pick up 12 points from their remaining four fixtures, a top-four place would be theirs.

That came after defeats for Leicester and Tottenham earlier in the weekend, and though Chelsea had pulled ahead into third with a 2-1 win at Man City, West Ham then failed to pick up any points against Everton on Sunday.

It is another big development in a rollercoaster season for Liverpool, despite every passing round of fixtures edging City closer to their title, and it sets up the run-in as an unmissable one.

Liverpool’s top-four hopes

Current position: 6th
Points: 57
League fixtures: Man United (A), West Brom (A), Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H)
Highest possible total: 69

There is still a strong chance of the Reds finishing in the Europa League spots, with fifth and sixth reserved for Europe’s second-tier tournament, but three wins from the next four will guarantee they miss out on the new UEFA Conference League.

Hopeful sights are now set on a continued run in the Champions League instead, with Liverpool in with a chance of making it a fifth campaign in a row dining at the top table.

To do so, it is almost certain that the Reds will need 12 points from a possible 12 in their upcoming clashes with Man United, West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace, taking them to a total of 69.

But they will also need results to go their way when it comes to at least two of Chelsea, Leicester and West Ham.

 

Chelsea

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 4, 2021: Chelsea's manager Thomas Tuchel during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Current position: 3rd
Points (differential): 64 (+7)
League fixtures: Arsenal (H), Leicester (H), Aston Villa (A)
Highest possible total: 73


Thomas Tuchel’s side are in control, and after overcoming City at the Etihad – leapfrogging Leicester in the process – they are now favourites to finish third.

It would take just two wins from their final three games to pull away from Liverpool entirely, though it should be noted that this would require picking up a win from Leicester.

Chelsea can still lose or draw to the Foxes and guarantee a finish above the Reds, provided they beat both Arsenal and Villa – but with an FA Cup final and Champions League final to also prepare for, is a slip-up possible?

 

Leicester

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 1, 2019: Leicester City's Youri Tielemans during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Everton FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Current position: 4th
Points (differential): 63 (+6)
League fixtures: Man United (A), Chelsea (A), Tottenham (H)
Highest possible total: 72


Leicester have by far the toughest run-in of the top-four chasers, and their form and fixtures are the main source of hope for Liverpool.

Not only do Brendan Rodgers’ side need to go to Old Trafford, but they will also visit Chelsea and host Tottenham, and defeat in any of those could be costly.

Leicester need to win two and draw one to ensure a fourth-placed finish, but the reality is that either them, Chelsea or both will drop points.

 

West Ham

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2020: West Ham United's manager David Moyes (L) chats with Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Current position: 5th
Points (differential): 58 (+1)
League fixtures: Brighton (A), West Brom (A), Southampton (H)
Highest possible total: 67


For so long, West Ham looked set to defy the odds and edge into Champions League contention, but they have now lost three of their last four games in the top flight.

Sunday saw them hand Liverpool another advantage as they were defeated 1-0 at home to Everton, which means their highest possible points total is 67 – two fewer than the Reds, if they win all of their games.

Having played a game more than Liverpool, it is now out of their hands.

 

The best-case scenario

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Liverpool need to win all 4 games to give themselves best chance
  • Chelsea vs. Leicester on May 18 guarantees dropped points
  • West Ham now against the odds, a point above LFC having played a game more
  • Reds could still finish fourth without winning all 4 – if others drop more points

It is a given that Liverpool will need to win all four of their games to remain in the hunt for a Champions League place, but they will also need at least one of their rivals to slip up.

With Chelsea expected to pick up at least six points from a possible nine, Liverpool would benefit from the Blues beating Leicester, while West Ham face the prospect of further points dropped against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton.

Man United could still have a big say, given they play both Leicester and Liverpool in the next four days, while the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester could also prove a distraction.

At this point, all Klopp and his players will be focusing on – and rightly so – is picking up 12 more points between now and the season’s end.

However, this would bring them to five league victories in a row, which is a feat not produced since pre-pandemic, when they won 18 on the spin between October and February.

Perhaps the return of 10,000 supporters to Anfield on May 23 will prove the difference between Europa League and Champions League

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