Decoding Champions League qualification race between Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool
Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-2 in the Premier League at Old Trafford to give themselves a severe boost in terms of earning Champions League qualification. Champions Manchester City and second-placed Manchester United have secured their spots. However, the likes of Chelsea, Leicester City and Liverpool are set to be involved in a three-way battle. We decode the UCL qualification race between these sides.
How victory against Manchester United helped the Reds?
Liverpool dominated the proceedings against Manchester United at Old Trafford. United were sloppy and gave the ball away easily to suffer a massive defeat. The win for Liverpool saw them leapfrog West Ham and get to fifth. They have 60 points from 35 games with a goal difference of +20. The Reds trail fourth-placed Chelsea by four points but have a game in hand.
Liverpool need to win their remaining league games
Liverpool have three matches left this season and need to win all three to assure themselves of a place in the UCL next season. Their next three opponents are all placed outside the top 10 - West Brom (19th), Burnley (15th), and Crystal Palace (13th). Claiming wins in these games will get the Reds to 69 points. That will help them seal the deal.
Leicester need four points to earn qualification
Leicester need four points from their remaining two games. The 2-1 win over Manchester United helped them massively. However, their next two games aren't easy. They face Chelsea and Tottenham and cannot afford to lose. If Liverpool win at least two games and Leicester lose both, the Reds will go through by bettering goal difference. If Leicester beat Chelsea, they will be through.
Chelsea have two routes to qualify for the Champions League
Chelsea's 1-0 loss to Arsenal at home served as a big blow. However, the Blues have two routes to earn qualification. If they win the Champions League 2020-21 final by beating Manchester City, they will qualify automatically even if they fail to finish in top four. Chelsea (64 points) can also qualify if they win their remaining two Premier League games.
Are West Ham, Spurs and Everton in the mix?
West Ham (58 points) are sixth and have three games to play. If the Hammers win all these games, they will get to 67 points. If Liverpool lose a game and Leicester suffer successive defeats, then West Ham will go through. Spurs and Everton (56 points each) need to win their remaining three games and hope Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham suffer defeats.
Champions League 2021-22 could have five Premier League sides
The Premier League could see three more teams joining the Manchester clubs in the UCL. Liverpool, who are unbeaten in eight league games have the momentum and can finish third or fourth. Leicester can get the job done against Chelsea and Spurs and make sure they claim four points. Chelsea could finish fifth but can qualify by winning the Champions League this season.