A 3-0 victory at Burnley on Wednesday night has kept Liverpool in the driving seat when it comes to a top-four finish, but what do they need to happen on final day?
That sets up the final day of fixtures, all to kick off at 4pm on Sunday, like this for the three contenders:
- Aston Villa (11th) vs. Chelsea (3rd)
- Liverpool (4th) vs. Crystal Palace (13th)
- Leicester (5th) vs. Tottenham (7th)
Liverpool have known since last week that four victories would be enough to guarantee a top-four finish, and now they have sealed three of those.
So what do Liverpool need to finish in the top four?
- Beat Crystal Palace and all but guarantee fourth
- Leicester could still finish above Liverpool but would need 5+ goal swing
- Chance of finishing third – if Reds win and Chelsea don’t vs. Villa
Well, effectively it boils down to victory over Palace, in front of 10,000 fans at Anfield, in Roy Hodgson’s last game as a top-flight manager.
Hodgson and his players will be eager to deal a blow to Liverpool as a fitting send-off, but the Reds are the Premier League‘s form side and should be favourites to take all three points.
Do so, and they will almost certainly finish above Leicester, provided the Foxes don’t trash Spurs in such a manner that it swings a goal difference matchup that currently sees the Reds +4 up.
So for example: if Liverpool beat Palace 1-0, Leicester would need to put six past Tottenham without response to edge it.
But the Reds could also still finish above Chelsea in third, if they beat Palace and the Blues fail to win at Villa – who sealed a 2-1 victory over Spurs in midweek.
There is also the possibility that Liverpool and Leicester both win and Chelsea only draw. This would see Thomas Tuchel’s side drop to fifth, clinging to the Champions League final as their only route into next season’s tournament.
A lot balances on what ifs still, but the absolute is: if Liverpool beat Palace, they are effectively guaranteed at least fourth.
COME ON YOU REDS!