Liverpool kept their impressive unbeaten record against the league’s top sides intact with a 1-1 draw at Manchester City earlier today and remain in fourth place with nine Premier League matches to play.
The Reds are four points clear of Manchester United in fifth and six clear of Arsenal in sixth but their chasing rivals both have two games in hand to try and close that gap. Jurgen Klopp’s men still have a huge challenge on their hands if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League but they have three big reasons to be optimistic.
1. No distractions
Liverpool’s nine remaining league games are the only matches they have left to play in all competitions this season. That means they have maximum time to prepare for each game and will be able to play full strength sides in every fixture. Roberto Firmino returned to the team at Man City on Sunday, while Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge should be fit again by the time Everton come to Anfield on April 1, so Liverpool have all their key men available for the final stretch.
In stark contrast, Manchester United still have a minimum of 13 games to play as a result of their Europa League commitments, while they could play as many as 16 more if they reach the final of that competition – something many expect them to do. Arsenal still have 11 Premier League games to play and also have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to contend with. The fact that Liverpool have only one competition to focus on should give them an advantage in the run-in.
2. Goalscoring form
Klopp’s side are the league’s top scorers, having netted 61 times in 29 games so far – an average of 2.1 per game. Not only does that make them the most threatening team in the division, it also means they have a strong chance of having superior goal difference to their nearest rivals. Only Chelsea and Spurs have better goal difference than the Reds at this stage and they will look to keep it that way as they battle with both Manchester clubs as well as Arsenal for the final remaining Champions League spots.
The Reds have only failed to score in one of their last 17 league games and will fancy their chances of outscoring each of their remaining nine opponents until the end of the season.
3. Home comforts
Liverpool will play five of their remaining league fixtures at Anfield, where they have only lost one game all season. The Reds have the fourth best home record in the division this season and have back-to-back home clashes against Everton and Bournemouth coming up after the international break to try and solidify their position in the top four. They are unbeaten in four at home, winning three of those, and have played Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal in that stretch.
Their remaining home fixtures see them face just two sides who currently sit in the top ten in Everton and Southampton, while they will be expected to beat Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough. They have easier home games remaining that Manchester United and Arsenal, who have to play each other at the Emirates Stadium on May 6 in what will prove to be a pivotal match in the race for the top four.
Do you think Liverpool will secure a top four spot in the Premier League this season?