The Final Stretch of Liverpool’s Season: Top 4 or Bust

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With the Premier League season drawing to a close, the run in for the top four is becoming tighter and tighter after every match. Liverpool currently sit 4th in the table, having slipped up to Manchester United last Saturday – Spurs managed to climb above them into 3rd by just a mere point.

Chelsea are looking to crash the party, having managed to recuperate some form and with no Champions League football to contest going forward, they could easily uproot either side despite the four-point gap if they hit top gear.

Although Liverpool have easily been the most impressive side outside of the three, Champions League qualification could easily slip between their fingers should a couple results not go their way.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpooll during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on January 5, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been in good Premier League form since the turn of the year, winning 6 of their last 9 Premier League matches (W6, D1, L2) and scoring bags of goals. They look primed to finish in the top four, but with a quarter-final in the Champions League to contest with (against Manchester City nonetheless), their attention will be drawn elsewhere in early April. A lengthy Champions League campaign has the potential to derail their top four bid – something that Spurs and Chelsea can now avoid.

Keeping the attacking trident fit and firing will be crucial, as the second highest scorers behind Manchester City, Liverpool, often win games by almost literally ‘throwing the kitchen sink’ at the opposition; prioritising attack over defence.

As for Spurs and Chelsea, they have managers in the form of Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino – two managers who are more calculated, with good organisation skills and strong back lines.

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Looking at the fixture lists, Liverpool’s hardest tests will be the Merseyside derby and a game at Stamford Bridge. Klopp’s men will also have to face Crystal Palace, Stoke and West Brom who could all be contesting relegation heading into this final furlong. These could prove to be much trickier matches than anticipated, especially given Liverpool’s tendencies against so-called weaker opposition.

However, with Mo Salah in the form of his life and a feel-good aura surrounding the club – both players and fans will remain quietly confident of Liverpool’s chances to solidify third place in the Premier League. The aim for the club is to once again become an established Champions League club which makes this season crucial in the progress of Jurgen Klopp’s project.

Liverpool’s last eight Premier League games:

Watford (A), Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Brom (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A), and Brighton (H). 

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As for Spurs, they have both Chelsea and Manchester City to play and will struggle without Harry Kane for the next month, with the Englisham out of action due to ankle ligament damage. The striker has been prolific as ever, scoring 40.6% of Spurs’ Premier League goals so far this season – the void left by his absence will be a huge blow for their chances.

They could find themselves becoming reliant on the purple patch that Son Heung-Min is currently experiencing. The Korean has hit top form just in time for Spurs, scoring seven goals in their last four games in all competitions, but will it be enough for Spurs to secure a top-four finish?

Spurs’ last eight Premier League games:

Newcastle (H), Chelsea (A), Stoke City (A), Man City (H), Brighton (A), Watford (H), West Brom (A), and Leicester City (H). 

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Finally Chelsea, who arguably have the hardest run in given the number of teams they face who have their Premier League status on the line.

Southampton, Swansea and Newcastle will all host Chelsea in the upcoming weeks in games where the home crowd could prove to be the difference – while West Ham will avoid any crowd trouble with a trip to the Bridge, which is notably always a rowdy affair.

Add contests with Liverpool and Spurs, it’s a nightmare run in for the Blues who still have to make up a four-point gap to stand a chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Add in the uncertainty over Antonio Conte’s job and unrest amongst the club’s directors and Roman Abramovich’s rule,  Chelsea remain the outsiders despite winning the league last season.

Chelsea’s last eight Premier League games:

Burnley (A), Spurs (H), West Ham (H), Southampton (A), Huddersfield (H), Swansea (A), Liverpool (H), and Newcastle (A). 

Owen Maers

Hey there, as you've read my name is Owen - so that's a start. Overall, I'm a Liverpool fan who loves writing and editing, cheers for checking out my work and thanks for all the support.

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