It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Liverpool as it battles to secure a place in the Champions League next season.
Heading into the weekend in fifth place, just one point behind Manchester United, the Reds are within easy reach of football’s most prestigious club competition. Klopp’s side are in fine form with six wins in six and a front line that is fit and firing after a long spell of injury.
Liverpool’s impressive form may have arrived too little too late, with both Manchester United and Newcastle United holding a game against the Reds and more points on the board.
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Realistically, it seems very likely that Liverpool will finish the campaign in fifth. But with Manchester City poised to win the Premier League, there will strictly speaking be no extra ticket available to Europe’s most elite competition, even if Pep Guardiola’s side also win the Champions League.
Manchester City look poised to claim a coveted double, and possibly a treble. If Guardiola can deliver such an impressive performance then Manchester City will be able to qualify for the Champions League next season by getting their hands on the famous trophy, but this will not affect Liverpool as the Etihad side have already qualified because of their end of the premier league.
It is possible for five Premier League clubs to qualify for the Champions League under certain circumstances, but that can only happen if a team wins the European competition but finishes outside the top four. Therefore, barring an incredible change of fortune or a dramatic last-minute points deduction, Liverpool’s only hope of a return to the Champions League is to finish in at least fourth place in the league.
That means Liverpool’s only hope is for Manchester United or Newcastle United to slip, leaving a third or fourth place up for grabs. With Leicester City, Aston Villa and Southampton still to play, you could see Liverpool collect all nine points, but both Manchester United and Newcastle still have that match advantage.
For the team that misses out on that top-four finish, the ‘extra’ Champions League place is not immediately passed on. In this case, automatic qualification would go to whoever wins the top domestic league within the UEFA league without such a privilege. At the moment, these would be the champions of the Ukrainian Premier League, with Shakhtar Donetsk currently leading the race, meaning it doesn’t have to go through the qualifying rounds and Liverpool are unaffected.
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