Tuesday 17 July 2018

Battle for Champions League places goes to final weekend

Swansea will discover if they are relegated on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side need a point at home to Brighton to effectively secure Champions League football next season
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side need a point at home to Brighton to effectively secure Champions League football next season

By Press Association Sport staff

The battle for Champions League places and relegation has gone to the final weekend of the season but it will require some outlandish results for the picture to change.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the issues that will be settled on Sunday.

Most interest is likely to be directed towards the top of the table where next season’s Champions League representatives will be decided.

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Graphic showing how high or low each team can still finish

Liverpool, who have not been outside the top four since December 13, are once again stuttering their way to the finishing line.

Twelve months ago they went into their last match at home to Middlesbrough needing match Arsenal’s result against Everton to book a return to Europe’s elite club competition.

This weekend the outcome is still in their own hands: draw against Brighton, who are safe, and it will most likely be enough thanks to their +42 goal difference.

Even if fifth-placed Chelsea were then to beat Newcastle to draw level with Liverpool on 73 points they would have to win by 16 goals at St James’ Park.

Of course a win at Anfield – where Jurgen Klopp’s side have not lost all season – would take them out of reach of Chelsea but defeat would leave the door open for Antonio Conte’s side to snatch fourth spot with victory.

At the foot of the table the scenario is only a slightly less unlikely one for Swansea to escape relegation.

The south Wales club are three points adrift after losing in midweek to Southampton, who occupy the last place of safety in 17th.

Swansea’s first job is to beat already-relegated Stoke, who have not won away from home since October.

They then have to rely on champions Manchester City beating Southampton heavily at St Mary’s but still require a 10-goal swing in goal difference for them to leapfrog Saints.

Press Association

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