An impressive sprint towards the finishing post has given Liverpool an outside chance of Champions League qualification for next season having now secured European football of some description in 2023/24.
The Reds cruised to a 3-0 victory away at Leicester to confirm a Europa League spot at the very least for next season, but a place in the continent’s elite club competition remains tantalisingly up for grabs despite a turbulent campaign.
Jurgen Klopp admitted in his post-Leicester press conference that he “didn’t believe” a top-four finish was possible “six or seven weeks ago” but a seven-game winning streak has since put Newcastle and Man United firmly within his team’s sights.
Liverpool can amass a total of 71 points should they win all of their remaining fixtures to end the season with nine successive wins.
Aston Villa are up next this weekend in the Reds’ final home game of 2022/23 before a trip to Southampton to close out the campaign, but there is still plenty that can happen in the top-four race before Liverpool kick another ball.
Here, we take a look at the permutations and the obstacles in the way of our rivals.
- Bournemouth (A) – (Current standing: 14th)
- Chelsea (H) – (11th)
- Fulham (H) – (10th)
Maximum points tally: 75
Back-to-back away defeats to Brighton and West Ham have given Liverpool sufficient encouragement that Man United can be caught before their race is run.
Erik ten Hag’s side are a point ahead of the Reds having played one game fewer, with their game in hand coming against Bournemouth on Thursday night.
Sitting on 66 points, they need just two wins from their last three in order to put themselves out of Liverpool’s reach.
It is worth remembering that Man United do also have a Manchester derby in the FA Cup final to concern themselves with following the conclusion of the Premier League season.
The Red Devils are looking to complete a domestic cup double after picking up the League Cup with a 2-0 win over fellow top-four candidates Newcastle back in February.
Maximum points tally: 75
Newcastle have also blinked in recent weeks to leave the door slightly ajar for the Reds.
The Magpies have taken just one point from their clashes with Arsenal and Leeds, leaving them in the same boat as Man United on 66 points with three to go.
It means that they too can secure Champions League football with two wins, although they are in better mathematical shape than Man United with a goal difference of +32.
The only likely scenario in which goal difference would come into effect would be if either Newcastle or Man United get one win and two draws from their remaining games and Liverpool take maximum points.
The bottom line is that two wins would be enough for the Reds to overtake Newcastle should Eddie Howe’s side register a draw and a defeat in their last few matches.
It might feel like a stretch, but praying for one of two sides to slip up gives us double the chance of having a solitary team standing in our way.
Whatever happens in the final two games, it has been a marvellous run from the Reds to give us plenty of optimism with which to fly into next season.