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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Here’s how Liverpool can overcome United in the race for a top-four spot

The Anfield club will almost certainly need three wins in their final matches to have any hope.

WITH THREE GAMES left for the majority of teams in the Premier League, here is how the table looks…


As you can see above, Liverpool trail Man United by four points. Nevertheless, the Red Devils’ poor recent form has given their rivals hope.

Since an emphatic 4-2 defeat of Man City, United have lost all three of their subsequent fixtures, though Liverpool’s similarly inept performances against sides such as Hull and West Brom has ensured they continue to lag behind Louis van Gaal’s men in the table.

Furthermore, wins claimed by Arsenal and Man City in recent days have all but ensured their place in next season’s Champions League, while Spurs’ loss to the latter means they are now highly unlikely to claim fourth spot.

You can view a full list of the Premier League’s remaining fixtures here, but here’s who the two main contenders for the all-important final Champions League spot have to play…

Liverpool remaining fixtures:

Chelsea (a) – 10 May, Crystal Palace (h) – 16 May, Stoke (a) – 24 May.

Man United remaining fixtures:

Crystal Palace (a) – 9 May, Arsenal (h) – 17 May, Hull (a) – 24 May.

One factor that could come into play is goal difference — United are currently on +24 and Liverpool have +11, so Brendan Rodgers’ side’s hopes of winning out in this respect are slim.

Moreover, the strong likelihood of United ultimately prevailing against their bitter rivals is epitomised by the fact that they can guarantee fourth place as early as next week.

A win at Palace, coupled with a Liverpool loss to Chelsea, would stretch United’s lead to seven points. And with each side only having two games to play thereafter, Rodgers’ team would not be able to finish ahead of LVG’s men.

The key games are seemingly the duo’s respective clashes with Chelsea and Arsenal. On first glance, Chelsea away is conceivably a tougher match than Arsenal at home. However, Chelsea arguably have less to play for than the Gunners — Mourinho’s men are already guaranteed first place, whereas Arsenal will be looking to consolidate second spot ahead of City, with the prize money and prestige of a higher league position the obvious incentives. Consequently, how these big games have panned out may actually work in Liverpool’s favour.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Old Trafford Source: Lynne Cameron

(Louis van Gaal and Manchester United remain in pole position to claim the all-important fourth spot despite losing three games on the trot)

To be guaranteed fourth place however, United need to win just two of their remaining three fixtures, putting them in the Champions League regardless of how the remainder of Liverpool’s season pans out.

Arsenal aside, the Red Devils would be expected to earn the necessary victories over Crystal Palace and Hull to earn fourth place, but then again, they were also heavy favourites to win at home to West Brom on Saturday.

In addition, Hull are in the midst of a relegation battle that is expected to go down to the final day, so they will likely have much to play for against LVG’s men, and the Tigers demonstrated how dangerous they can be at home during their recent win over Liverpool.

However, the odds remain heavily stacked against Brendan Rodgers’ men. To get fourth, they will almost certainly need to win their three remaining games and hope United can pick up a maximum of four points in their corresponding fixtures.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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