In recent weeks, Liverpool and Newcastle have joined Manchester United and Tottenham in aiming for a top-four finish in the Champions League
Liverpool, Brighton, and Newcastle may be denied a place in the Champions League even if they finish fourth in the Premier League.
Despite the fact that Arsenal and Manchester City have all but booked their places in the competition for next season, the race to finish inside the top four is heated, with a bevy of teams battling for two spaces.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has Champions League ambitions and expects to piece together a string of performances that will drive them into the top four by the end of the season.
Together with the Reds, Newcastle, Brentford, and Brighton all have strong hopes of breaking into the top four ahead of Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur, who currently hold those two positions.
Even if Liverpool finishes in the top four, there remains a tiny probability that they may miss out on the Champions League.
If Manchester United and Chelsea win both of Europe’s top two cup events but fail to finish in the top four – and one of the other teams, including Liverpool, finishes fourth behind Arsenal, City, and someone else – they will be refused entry to the Champions League. Instead, that squad would have to settle for a spot in the Europa League.
Tottenham were eliminated from the Champions League in 2011/12 as Chelsea, who placed sixth, won Europe’s premier club competition. When the Blues face Real Madrid in the quarter-finals next month, they will be seeking for their third trophy in 11 years, with their Premier League rivals likely to favor their Spanish opponents.
Newcastle can leapfrog Tottenham if they win their remaining games or beat third-place Manchester United directly after the international break, while Liverpool and Brighton are fifth and seventh, respectively.
“It’s THE competition, and we want to play every year,” Klopp said last week of his team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League. That has now become a major undertaking for us. This is something we are aware of. We have a full football week ahead of us as we return from the international break, with three games. City, Chelsea, and Arsenal will decide whether or not we get out of it.”