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Liverpool have Champions League football in their own hands
19 May 2017, 09:56
Liverpool have Champions League football in their own hands
smileimage9 / Shutterstock.com_

It’s the final day of the Premier League season and with Chelsea crowned champions and Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City relegated to the Championship, all eyes are on the battle for the top four.

Manchester City currently sit in third place, with 75 points from 37 games played and Liverpool are 2 points further back in fourth spot.  As things stand, it will be these two clubs which qualify for the Champions League.

However, if Arsenal win their match at home to Everton and Liverpool fail to defeat Middlesbrough at Anfield, things could start to get interesting.

Liverpool know if they can defeat relegated Middlesbrough at home, they will be in the draw for next seasons Champions League.  If they draw or lose, Arsenal can move above them in the Premier League and Liverpool will play in the Europa League.

Liverpool should be confident of getting the job done this weekend, as trends show they have tasted defeat only once in their previous twelve Premier League games.  Wins over the likes of Arsenal and Everton have been good enough for Liverpool to maintain their position in the top four.

However, a closer look at Liverpool’s form at Anfield gives a little cause for concern.  Liverpool have failed to win any of their previous four home league games, drawing against Bournemouth and Southampton and being beaten by Crystal Palace.  These teams are currently eighth, tenth and thirteenth in the Premier League table.

Liverpool have also dropped points at home this season to Swansea City and West Ham United, teams in the bottom half of the table.

Middlesbrough travel to Anfield with nothing left to play this season, as their relegation back to the Championship has already been confirmed.

Trends show Middlesbrough have just one win in their previous twenty Premier League games, so it’s little wonder they have been relegated this season.  They have won one match away from home all season, which came at Sunderland in August.

Since then, Middlesbrough have lost ten and drawn seven away league games, a record which does not inspire much confidence when heading to a top four team.  The only glimmer of hope Middlesbrough fans have is the fact they have held Arsenal and Manchester City to a draw away from home this season.

A repeat performance in this match, would see Middlesbrough leave the Premier League with their heads held high.

Looking at the team news and Jordan Henderson has an outside chance of playing in this match but Jurgen Klopp may decide not to risk the midfielder.  Roberto Firmino is still a doubt meaning Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge may continue in attack.

Middlesbrough boss Steve Agnew has fitness concerns over Gaston Ramirez, Victor Valdes, Daniel Ayala and Adlene Guedioura.  Having scored against Southampton last week, Patrick Bamford may start up-front.

On the face of it, this should be a comfortable home win.  However, we know Liverpool have struggled against teams they are expected to defeat and the pressure will be on at Anfield.  Surely, with their quality, Liverpool have enough to come through this game and win it by a couple of goals but it could be a lot closer than many people expect.

Predictions for Premier League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_1 PR
Brighton
Chelsea FC

20/01/2018 12:30
2
flag_1 PR
West Ham
Bournemouth

20/01/2018 15:00
X
flag_1 PR
Stoke City
Huddersfield

20/01/2018 15:00
X
flag_1 PR
Leicester City
Watford FC

20/01/2018 15:00
1

England Premier League - predictions, tips, statistics
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Manchester City 65 24 21 2 1 70 18 52
2. Manchester United 53 24 16 5 3 49 16 33
3. Chelsea FC 50 24 15 5 4 45 16 29
4. Liverpool FC 47 24 13 8 3 54 29 25
5. Tottenham 45 24 13 6 5 47 22 25
6. Arsenal 42 24 12 6 6 45 31 14
7. Leicester City 34 24 9 7 8 36 32 4
8. Burnley FC 34 24 9 7 8 19 21 -2
9. Everton FC 28 24 7 7 10 26 39 -13
10. Watford FC 26 24 7 5 12 33 44 -11
11. West Ham 26 24 6 8 10 30 42 -12
12. Bournemouth 25 24 6 7 11 25 36 -11
13. Crystal Palace 25 24 6 7 11 22 37 -15
14. Huddersfield 24 24 6 6 12 19 41 -22
15. Newcastle Utd 23 24 6 5 13 22 34 -12
16. Brighton 23 24 5 8 11 17 33 -16
17. Stoke City 23 24 6 5 13 25 50 -25
18. Southampton 22 24 4 10 10 24 35 -11
19. West Bromwich 20 24 3 11 10 19 31 -12
20. Swansea City 20 24 5 5 14 15 35 -20

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