Race for Top 4: How Liverpool's Rivals Run In Look

With eight games left, time is ticking for Liverpool to secure a Champions League position with the race heating up.
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Liverpool moved to within two points of the Champions League positions with a 3-0 dismantling of Arsenal on Saturday evening. 

Just six hours prior to kick-off, David Coote blew the full-time whistle on West Brom's visit to Stamford Bridge.

However, the result of that game changed the complexion and added emphasis to the Reds trip to the Emirates Stadium after the Baggies ran out 5-2 winners. 

On Sunday afternoon, Joe Willock's late equaliser salvaged a much-needed point for Newcastle against Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs' point saw them overtake Liverpool into fifth level on points with the Premier League champions, two points behind Chelsea.

With eight games of the 2020/21 season for Jurgen Klopp's side, the race for the top four is heating up 10 points separating fourth and Aston Villa in 11th.

Villa, with two games in hand, could be boosted with the return of captain Jack Grealish despite the Birmingham born playmaker failing to make the squad to face Scott Parker's Fulham. 

Runaway leaders Manchester City are within touching distance of winning the Premier League. Manchester United, City's closest rivals in the standings, have an eight-point advantage over Liverpool

Here's how the top four and those lurking in wait run in looks:

Manchester United

P2, W16, D9, L4, 57pts 

Recent Form

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's side are currently one a nine-match unbeaten Premier League run spanning from the end of January after Oliver Burke's strike 16 minutes from time gave the Blades a shock win at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have had good results since the defeat to Sheffield United including their 2-0 win over city rivals Manchester City, ending their winning run. 

They received a boost in Europe too with a 2-1 aggregate win over AC Milan. 

Prior to the international break they were well beaten by Leicester City in the FA Cup. 

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Run of Fixtures

United still have involvement in the Europa League with two legs against Spanish side Granada.

They host Brighton and Hove Albion in the late kick-off on Sunday. Graham Potter's side are no pushovers away from home beating the Reds in February but since then have won just twice. 

  • Tottenham (A)
  • Burnley (H)
  • Leeds (A)
  • Liverpool (H)
  • Aston Villa (A)
  • Leicester (H)
  • Fulham (H)
  • Wolves (A)

Leicester

P3, W17, D5, L8, 56pts

Recent Form

Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City was Brendan Rodgers' side eighth loss of the season. 

The Reds travelled to the Foxes a day before Valentines Day but it was visitors who left with woes. Despite Mohamed Salah's opener, a seven-minute capitulation, including a calamitous coming together between debutant Ozan Kabak and Alisson, from Klopp's side saw Rodgers' get one over his former club.

Since then, they've tasted defeat - before yesterday's loss - have lost just once.

Run of Fixtures

Leicester face Champions League chasing West Ham, next Sunday, with the Hammers looking to gain a stronger foothold in their pursuit of European football. 

But it is a tough run in for Rodgers' side facing three of the top six. 

Much has been discussed about last season's slump following project restart that saw Leicester lose their place in the top four and slip into the Europa League.

  • West Ham (A)
  • West Brom (H)
  • Crystal Palace (H)
  • Southampton (A)
  • Newcastle (H)
  • Manchester Utd (A)
  • Chelsea (A)
  • Spurs (H) 
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Chelsea

P4, W14, D9, L7, 51pts

Recent Form

Since the arrival of their German head coach, the Blues have enjoyed victory on a number of occasions including a 1-0 win over Liverpool thanks to Mason Mount's first half strike.

The Baggies inflicted Tuchel's first defeat of his tenure as well as the first Premier League goals they'd conceded since February 7, albeit five of them. 

Run of Fixtures

Spurs dropping points proved to be a boost for their London rivals as they failed to leapfrog them.

It could be a successful end to Tuchel's first few months as Chelsea boss if they get through their run of fixtures but they have the advantage as they momentarily hold fourth position. 

  • Crystal Palace (A)
  • Brighton (H)
  • West Ham (A)
  • Fulham (H)
  • Man City (A)
  • Arsenal (H)
  • Leicester (H)
  • Villa (A)
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Tottenham Hotspur

P5, W14, D7, L9, 49pts

Recent Form

Jose Mourinho has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent weeks with Dynamo Zagreb overturning their first leg deficit in the Europa League and losing 5-4 in an enthralling FA Cup tie against Everton.

Prior to their 2-2 draw with Newcastle, they had a resurgence in form winning four of their previous six.

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Run of Fixtures

There are points to be picked up for Spurs, but Jose Mourinho seems destined for failure with bookies having him second favourite as the next manager to leave.

  • Man United (H)
  • Everton (A)
  • Southampton (A)
  • Sheffield United (A)
  • Leeds (A)
  • Wolves (H)
  • Aston Villa (H)
  • Leicester (A)

POST-MATCH REACTION

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West Ham

P7, W14, D7, L9, 49pts

Recent Form

Since Liverpool eased past the Hammers at the end of January, they have lost just twice, both of their defeats coming to the top two, Manchester City and Manchester United. 

They threw away a three-nil lead over Arsenal with two own-goals and Alexandre Lacazette scoring for the Gunners to ensure what seemed to be an unlikely point 32 minutes in.

Run of Fixtures

Monday Night Football sees Wolves host West Ham hoping to pick up just their sixth home league win of the season. Diogo Jota came back to haunt his former club in the final game before the international break.

A win for David Moyes side would see them move into the top four and occupying the final Champions League place holding a three points advantage over Liverpool.

Similarly to the other challengers, West Ham have a difficult run-in with three of their nine games coming against fellow-European chasers.

  • Wolves (A)
  • Leicester (H)
  • Newcastle (A)
  • Chelsea (H)
  • Burnley (A)
  • Everton (H)
  • Brighton (A)
  • West Brom (A)
  • Southamton (H) 

Everton

P8, W14, D4, L10, 46pts

Recent Form

Everton's rollercoaster Premier League season continued as Burnley left Goodison Park with three points in the Toffees penultimate game before the March internationals.

Their 2-0 win at Anfield, ending the 21-year wait for a win across Stanley Park, emphasised that Carlo Ancelotti's side were a force to be reckoned with.

Run of Fixtures

A win for Everton on Monday would see them move level on points with the Reds but due to the red half of Merseyside's greater goal difference, they would maintain their position.

Crystal Palace are in town with the Eagles looking to pick up their first away win over the Blues since September 2014. 

Everton's up and down home form could be the deciding factor in the remaining fixtures with the determental factors including lack of fans, but the return of fans coinciding with the conclusion of the season could spell a rejuvenated Toffees.

Monday's fixture holds the key to their Champions League aspirations. 

  • Crystal Palace (H)
  • Brighton (A)
  • Spurs (H)
  • Arsenal (A)
  • Aston Villa (H)
  • West Ham (A)
  • Sheffield United (H)
  • Wolves (H)
  • City (A)

What does this mean for Liverpool?

Liverpool currently sit in sixth with a two-point deficit behind Chelsea whilst only behind Spurs on goal difference. 

There is no denying that the Champions League is the ultimate goal for the Reds, with their involvement in the Quarter-Final's and potentially beyond could be a potential avenue come the end of the season but reaching the final in Istanbul is another story.

Much is spoken about how their involvement in the height of European football will determine the incoming in the summer and judging by their remaining fixtures, it is very much in the hands of Jurgen Klopp's side to go on and secure a place in next season's competitions.

But chance would be a fine thing and reality plays out much differently to the fixtures on paper.  

Fabinho Thiago Salah

Remaining Fixtures

  • Villa (H)
  • Leeds (A)
  • Newcastle (H)
  • Man Utd (A)
  • Southampton (H)
  • West Brom (A)
  • Burnley (A)
  • Palace (H)

Similar to the Blue half of Merseyside, home form is crucial, as it always is in the 38-game season. But with the current state of pandemic football, the lack of fans seems to haunt an empty Anfield.

No home win since the 2-1 win over Spurs on December 16 (yes, that long ago) paints a harrowing picture. But four wins in their last six in all competitions would appear that a corner has possibly turned and that a mini-resurgence is in full flow.

Upon complexion, Liverpool's run of games bar the trip to Old Trafford looks the trickest fixture. 

But no doubt that the easy win over Arsenal on Saturday night and the displays from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah will instil confidence throughout the squad and fans alike.