The problem with chasing the top four race is that you keep praying others slip. The flip side for Liverpool is that not too long ago it seemed like the Reds would watch the Champions League race without actually being involved.
However, that is certainly no longer the case. Instead, Liverpool need Newcastle or Manchester United to drop more points, while Jürgen Klopp’s side need to win each of their remaining games. In the run-up, Liverpool is still very active.
With their draw against a defensively unhappy Leeds United, Newcastle need one more win and two draws from the last three games – assuming there isn’t a mad reversal in goal difference – to finish ahead of the Reds. The fight seems to go on to the end.
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Newcastle’s next two games are against Brighton and Leicester City – both at home – for a finals day at Chelsea, which admittedly looks considerably easier than it did a few months ago.
USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie and former MLS star Jack Harrison did their best to help Liverpool, but in the end Leeds just didn’t have enough quality to pull off a win on home soil.
Two completely unnecessary errors at the back gave Newcastle easy chances to score from the spot, allowing Callum Wilson to score a double. Without those mistakes, a point could easily have been more for Leeds.
First Maximilian Wöber didn’t get close to the ball, but he knocked out Alexander Isak in the penalty area, and then Junior Firpo – once a Liverpool transfer target – hit the ball with his fingers trying to exaggerate how hard he was in the back was pushed.
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Leeds, to its credit, have tried to fight back. Rasmus Christiansen crashed a shot to make it 2-2, before Firpo was sent off and a chaotic end to the clash ensued, including an intruder getting close enough to Eddie Howe to catch the Newcastle boss on the shoulder to tap.
Sam Allardyce’s side tried and tried, but there’s a reason they’re one of the teams in danger of falling. Liverpool hoped for a victory in Leeds but got the next best thing.
Liverpool. com says: Liverpool still have their own work to do, of course, but Patrick Bamford’s missed penalty feels like a big moment. Had the Leeds striker scored, Newcastle would have lost two; instead it went up the other side and equalized. That’s where it leads to relying on a defensively weak team like Leeds to please you.
Importantly, however, while Newcastle looked set to be scrapped, it also showed its own weakness. Apart from the penalties, it didn’t create many chances and conceded twice. Thankfully, Bamford didn’t budge under pressure and there were glimmers of hope to hang on to. For example, McKennie largely did well against Bruno Guimarães and co in the center with an impressive performance.
Newcastle did well to come back from a goal down but were far from perfect. Brighton on Thursday will give them much more of a challenge. The top four places are still a long way off for Liverpool in terms of what needs to be done, but it can only do its own job. The percentage chance of it happening – as has been the case for weeks – has just increased slightly again.
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