Why Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool could still qualify for the 2023-24 Champions League
The Reds are down in seventh spot in the Premier League but haven’t given up hope of a top-four finish.
Only Real Madrid and Milan have won the Champions League/European Cup more times than Liverpool, yet there has been a feeling for most of the season that Jürgen Klopp’s side may not even qualify for next year’s competition. The Reds only just edged out Nottingham Forest by the odd goal in five on Saturday thanks to a Mohamed Salah goal, but how realistic is it that they will be playing in Europe’s elite club competition in 2023-24?
How far off the Champions League spots are Liverpool?
A quick glance at the Premier League table suggests there is plenty of traffic between them and the top four. Liverpool currently find themselves down in seventh spot in the standings, six points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle United, who have played a game fewer. Taking Arsenal and Manchester City, the top two, out of the equation, of all the other contenders for the Champions League places, only sixth-placed Aston Villa, a point ahead, have played more matches than the Merseysiders.
To summarise, the bad news for the Anfield club is that they have plenty of ground to make up and plenty of clubs to make ground up on. Is there any good news?
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures
Well, in addition to the fact that they’ve now recorded back-to-back wins, the fixture list between now and the end of the season doesn’t look too daunting. Klopp’s men have three remaining away fixtures, all against teams struggling at the bottom of the table (West Ham, Leicester City and Southampton). Following their trip to the London Stadium, they have three home games in a row, a run which should give them the chance to keep their recent momentum going.
In addition, two of their remaining four matches at Anfield are against direct rivals for a top-four spot. Tottenham Hotspur, currently fifth and three points ahead, visit on 30 April, while Villa are in town on 20 May, the penultimate weekend of the campaign. Two good opportunities to boost their own Champions League hopes while at the same time denting others’.
A number of Champions League contenders set to face off
Surprise package Brighton, a point behind but with two games in hand, look as if they could well go the distance but still have to face title-chasers Arsenal and City, as well as fellow top-four contenders Manchester United (who are nine points ahead and should be safe), Villa and Newcastle. The Magpies also have Spurs and the Seagulls to play, while Villa vs Spurs, United vs Villa and Spurs vs United are also all coming up, which means a number of Liverpool’s closest rivals in the standings will take points off each other in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Is there still a chance for Klopp’s men? They certainly won’t be favourites to make the top four, but we saw them put together a superb late-season run to qualify for the Champions League in 2020-21 when it looked as if they were down and out. They’ve done it before, can they do it again?