A positive result at Leicester on Monday night could see Liverpool secure European football for 2023/24, but their top-four fight took another twist.
The Reds have competed in European competitions in all but one of Jurgen Klopp‘s eight seasons on Merseyside, and are almost certain to do so again in the next campaign.
While the ultimate goal would, of course, be to finish in the top four and confirm Champions League football for the seventh successive season, Man United‘s 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday has made Liverpool’s job even more difficult than.
As it stands, the teams in fifth and sixth spots in the Premier League table will play in the Europa League next season, with the seventh-placed side qualifying for the Europa Conference League.
The FA Cup winners are typically handed a place in the Europa League, but with finalists Man United and Man City both set to finish in the top five, an additional spot will be awarded to the team in sixth.
A victory against Leicester on Monday night would take the Reds up to 65 points for the season, which would put them beyond reach of Tottenham (seventh) and Aston Villa (eighth), who can both finish with a maximum of 63 points.
Three points at the King Power would therefore confirm that Liverpool will be playing Europa League football next season, as sixth place would become the worst possible outcome mathematically.
A draw would likely put them out of reach of Spurs and Villa either way due to their vastly superior goal difference.
However, with Brighton pulling off a 3-0 win at Arsenal – all but ending the Gunners’ title chances – there are still four sides vying for third and fourth.
Naturally, anything other than a top-four finish will be viewed as a disappointing season by fans, after becoming accustomed to featuring in Europe’s elite club competition on a yearly basis.
Supporters may be torn on the idea of competing in the second tier of the pyramid, with many voting against wanting to be involved in European competition outside of the Champions League in a recent poll.
But the manager and his players will certainly not share that mindset – and will be looking to achieve the highest-possible finish in order to gain some much-needed momentum heading into next season.