Can Liverpool qualify for the Champions League by sneaking into the Premier League top four?

Liverpool looked dead and buried in the Premier League top-four race just a few weeks ago. Yet, with six straight matches without a defeat and four consecutive wins, the Reds have given themselves a fighting chance in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.  

Yes, the chances of Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League are slim. According to the sports stats website, FiveThirtyEight, Liverpool have just a 9% chance of qualifying for the Champions League. Meanwhile, Newcastle are at 95% and Manchester United are at 91%. Brighton have a 4% chance of finishing in the top four.  

So, based on stats, are Liverpool really out of the race for Champions League qualification? 

The Reds go into Wednesday’s fixture with Fulham with 65 points from 33 matches. Liverpool are nine points off Newcastle and seven points from Manchester United. United have a game in hand over the Reds, giving them an edge in the race for the top four. There are still 15 points left to play for this season, which means Liverpool must win their last five fixtures to have any chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.  

Can it be done? 

Yes, it can be done. In 2020-21, Liverpool went unbeaten in their final 10 matches of the season, winning eight and drawing two, to qualify for the Champions League. Fans may remember Alisson’s dramatic header to defeat West Brom Albion at the Hawthorns 2-1 before the team went on to defeat Burnley and Crystal Palace to close out the season.  

The problem is the Premier League is far more competitive this season, making the task at hand even more difficult. Liverpool are on a six-match unbeaten run and winning their final five matches would make that a total of 11 matches unbeaten. Even then, it may not be enough to finish in the top four due to the current gap.  

Liverpool’s final five fixtures are winnable, although the team will need to prevent falling into the same complacency that saw them concede a three-goal lead against Tottenham at Anfield last weekend.  

The Reds will finish the season with  

  • Fulham at home 
  • Brentford at home 
  • Leicester City away 
  • Aston Villa at home 
  • Southampton away 

Newcastle’s final five fixtures are against 

  • Arsenal at home 
  • Leeds away 
  • Brighton at home 
  • Leicester at home 
  • Chelsea away 

The teams have similar fixture lists in terms of difficulty.  

What about Man United? 

The Red Devils have six games remaining in the league along with an FA Cup final against Manchester City. The Red Devils will play: 

  • Brighton away 
  • West Ham away 
  • Wolverhampton at home 
  • Bournemouth away 
  • Chelsea at home 
  • Fulham at home 

Comparing the three teams, Man United’s fixture list looks the most difficult on paper. If Newcastle and Man United both drop points in their upcoming fixtures, and Liverpool defeat Fulham on Wednesday, the pressure will increase. Like Liverpool, Man United play in midweek, while Newcastle will wait until Sunday for a big showdown with title-chasing Arsenal.  

So, can Liverpool finish in the Premier League’s top four?

Never say never in football. It will be difficult for the team to end the season in the top four. First and foremost, Liverpool must defeat Fulham on Wednesday night. A win would add pressure to both Newcastle and Man United. As long as the Reds keep winning, they can keep the pressure on those two teams. 


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