Liverpool is fighting to make the Champions League, but will it actually matter much for the upcoming season?
Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the top four have appeared to be completely lost at various points throughout this challenging season.
After his team had defeated Manchester United 7-0 six days prior, a loss to Bournemouth in March was a particularly low point for Jurgen Klopp. Additionally, a “season-defining” week of games against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal following the international break resulted in just two points from nine.
Liverpool had a 12-point deficit against Manchester United after 29 games, but after six straight victories, that deficit has been significantly reduced to just one point. Anyone at Anfield doesn’t need a reminder of how far off the mark you can be when you’re just one short, but a thrilling end to this season has at least given them a chance as we head into the final weeks.
At this point, it is still more hopeful than likely, but Erik ten Hag’s team’s last week’s back-to-back losses have left the door open for Jurgen Klopp and his team. Just a few short weeks ago, the majority of Reds fans probably never imagined they would find themselves in with a decent chance at this point in the season, but the fact that there is still something to chase gives them cause for optimism. In conclusion, why not?
Given the turmoil this season has brought, including injuries, form decline, physical and mental exhaustion among players and coaching staff, and the effects of the midseason World Cup, Liverpool shouldn’t even be in the running for Champions League qualification.
The fact remains, though. With Liverpool’s strong finish to the season and a minor slip-up from Manchester United and a couple of losses for Newcastle United, there is a slim chance that Jurgen Klopp’s team will finish in the top four.
Despite the fact that some of the key players were facing off in the final three games of the last two seasons, there was still a sizable shift in the battle for the top four. They both couldn’t triumph.
This time, that won’t happen, so the Reds will need at least two blunders from one of their main competitors over the course of their final four games. Given that Newcastle has actually won eight of their last ten games and that United plays three of their next four games at home, where they have performed well this season, that seems unlikely. Klopp’s team will finish in fifth place.
The good news for Liverpool is that their current performance has demonstrated to both themselves and potential new recruits the standards of which they are still capable. Despite having Champions League football next season, there is still much room for improvement. Take a look at Arsenal this season, after all.
Liverpool has won six straight games and is once again in contention for a top-four finish, which seemed unlikely earlier in the season.
The Reds should defeat relegation-dangerous Leicester and Southampton, with a home match against Aston Villa in between; 71 points is a very doable total. However, Liverpool has no control over the situation; Manchester United or Newcastle must make another mistake.
In order for Newcastle to secure their spot against Leicester and Leeds, Liverpool will need to bet on Erik ten Hag’s team struggling. On the final day of the season, United will play four teams with nothing left to play for, and I think Liverpool will just barely miss out.
Liverpool can bounce back from missing out on the competition, even after making it to the Champions League final the previous season and qualifying in the prior six. When it comes to transfers, teams have shown that Champions League football is not a major consideration. The summer rebuild is essential to getting back in the mix at the top.
Last summer, Manchester United was able to sign players like Casemiro and Antony, whereas Arsenal was unable to sign Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Liverpool will be back at the top the following year with a successful transfer window.
In April, it appeared that Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the top four were over. However, a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield has given the Reds’ season something we haven’t seen from them yet: a winning streak.
Liverpool is now only one point behind Manchester United in fourth place after six consecutive victories, with Newcastle in third. The latter two are still considered favorites to earn those Champions League spots, but Jurgen Klopp will make sure his team is ready to profit from any future mistakes, which are certain to occur.
Newcastle is aware that they must earn points in order to qualify for Europe’s top competition, while United has dropped two straight games. Eddie Howe and Erik ten Hag are under pressure because there is less assurance now than there was a few weeks ago about their top-four spots. To achieve an unlikely top four finish, Liverpool must win their final three games while United continues to falter.
Even though I believe Liverpool will squeak into the top four, I don’t believe their absence would have a significant impact on the transfer market. Regarding potential signings, plans have been developed and negotiations are advanced. Additionally, Klopp has made it clear he does not want to sign players who would only travel to Anfield for the Champions League.