Predicting The Final Top Six: Where Will Liverpool Finish?

Predicting The Final Top Six: Where Will Liverpool Finish?

Chelsea may be cruising towards the Premier League title in a frustratingly ruthless fashion, but there is still a huge amount to fight for at the top of the table.

Granted, securing a top-four finish should never be seen as a giant achievement for a club of Liverpool’s stature, but being in next season’s Champions League is of huge importance. Rarely has the battle to qualify for Europe’s most lucrative and rewarding club competition been so exciting and unpredictable, with five good teams looking to join Chelsea in it in 2017/18.

Wearing my most unbiased Reds hat possible, I’ve had a look at the remaining fixtures of the season, and how things will look come May.

(nb – Chelsea will cruise to the title, so they are not worthy of an in-depth assessment)

2nd – Tottenham (played: 28, points: 59)

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side continue to go from strength to strength, and in terms of their all-round quality, they look the most formidable of the those looking for a top-four berth.

A resolute defence is shielded by a physical but creative midfield of Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele, while the goals and assists of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are equally important.

Harry Kane’s injury is an enormous blow, however, and it will be very interesting to see how Spurs cope without their talisman for a chunk of time. We are all aware of Spurs’ ability to capitulate at any moment, and while this issue has generally been eradicated under Pochettino, it is still lurking within, as we saw at the end of last season.

Trips to Burnley and Crystal Palace look potentially awkward, while the visits of Arsenal and Man United with be a stern test of their credentials and questionable big-game mentality.

3rd – Man City (played: 28, points: 57)

There is no doubt that Man City have improved greatly since the turn of the year, but like all the top teams barring Chelsea, they are far from perfect.

The attacking quality at their disposal is frightening, from Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva’s guile to Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane’s pace, but doubts remain over their defensive expertise.

Pep Guardiola’s side are certainly an outfit who can be unstoppable if they get on a roll, and failure to qualify for the Champions League would be an almighty failure, given their resources.

Matches against their rivals come thick and fast for City, with Arsenal and Chelsea their next opponents, and a Manchester derby with United also on the horizon. The thought of Europa League football next season is a grim one for Guardiola.

4th – Liverpool (played: 29, points: 56)

You may want to kid yourself, or bang on about Liverpool’s failings against weaker sides – it is an understandable argument, but let’s not overdo it – the Reds have a far nicer run-in than any of their adversaries.

Once the Merseyside derby showdown with Everton is out of the way on April Fools’ Day, all eight of their remaining fixtures look very winnable.

They won’t win every one, of course, given the competitive, unpredictable nature of the Premier League, but their rivals should be concerned about who they are up against. Everywhere you look, there are sides who could be halfway on their summer holidays.

Consistency has been Liverpool’s issue all season, which is exactly why their title challenge has quickly become a Champions League dogfight – now is the time for them to knuckle down and perform well every week.

5th – Man United (played: 27, points: 52)

United’s season has been a curious one, and despite not losing in the league since October, they have failed to make any significant ground on those above them.

Jose Mourinho will be disappointed with the way his side have performed in the league – many tipped them to be champions back in August – but you never want to dismiss a Mourinho team as the business end of the campaign approaches.

On paper, United have comfortably the hardest run-in, with trips to City, Arsenal and Spurs to overcome, and Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Europa League could also start to take precedence, with the calibre of teams left in it making United incredibly strong favourites to lift the trophy. Let’s hope that makes them switch off a little in the league.

6th – Arsenal (played: 27, points: 50)

Even by Arsenal’s standards, their 2017 post-Christmas plummet has been spectacular.

The team looks completely lost under Arsene Wenger, being annihilated by Bayern Munich, humbled by Chelsea, Liverpool and West Brom and only beating non-league Sutton United and Lincoln City in their last six outings.

We all know that the Gunners are the masters at qualifying for the Champions League, however, so despite their appalling form, they should never be written off.

They certainly look the sixth-best team in the league at the moment – Everton may even be superior – but a few gritty wins could change things.

They have some mouthwatering clashes with City, Spurs and United on the horizon, which could determine whether Wenger misses out on a top-four finish for the first time in two decades.

How will it look in May?

The fact that there are so many matches involving Liverpool’s rivals works hugely in our favour, with at least one guaranteed to drop points most weekends.

All the while, the Reds should have enough quality to be beating the likes Stoke, West Ham and Watford away, and Bournemouth and Middlesbrough at home.

This is why Jurgen Klopp’s men will ensure they are playing Champions League football for only the second time in 2009/10 next season. I have Liverpool down to pick up 21 points from their final nine matches, with no defeats but three draws, against Everton, West Brom and Southampton. It will be enough to squeeze into third place.

Above them will be City, whose tricky upcoming run will be hurdled without a defeat, and they will beat the lesser sides without too much fuss. They have too much firepower not to finish in the top-four, and come May, they will be wondering why they couldn’t get their act together sooner and challenge Chelsea. They will win their last four games, against Middlesbrough, Palace, Leicester and Watford.

Spurs will struggle away from home without the guaranteed goals of Kane, but they are so hard to beat that not many bad days will come their way. The FA Cup may act as a slight distraction, as is the case with City and Arsenal, but they will finally finish above their north London rivals, having tried for so long to achieve the feat.

Speaking of Arsenal, they will have too much to do this time, with the likes of City, Spurs and Liverpool very much with the bit between their teeth. We will see a recovery of sorts, but they look short this time around.

United’s fixtures look very difficult, and as mentioned, it would be no surprise if Mourinho suddenly puts all his energy into the Europa League.

They will win that competition, much as it pains me to admit it, but they don’t deserve to finish above the current leading Premier League quartet, and won’t.

Let’s hope this doesn’t make me look foolish in a couple of months.

How the results will go

(not all fixtures in order, due to dates not yet being confirmed)

Chelsea

Crystal Palace (h) – W

Man City (h) – D

Bournemouth (a) – D

Man United (a) – L

Southampton (h) – W

Everton (a) – D

Middlesbrough (h) – W

West Brom (a) – D

Sunderland (h) – W

Watford (h) – W

 

Tottenham

Burnley (a) – D

Swansea (a) – W

Watford (h) – W

Bournemouth (h) – W

Crystal Palace (a) – L

Arsenal (h) – D

West Ham (a) – D

Man United (h) – D

Hull (a)  – W

Leicester (a) – D

 

Man City

Arsenal (a) – W

Chelsea (a) – D

Hull (h) – W

Southampton (a) – D

Man United (h) – W

Middlesbrough (a) – D

Crystal Palace (h) – W

Leicester (h) – W

Watford (a) – W

West Brom (h) – W

 

Liverpool

Everton (h) – D

Bournemouth (h) – W

Stoke (a) – W

West Brom (a) – D

Crystal Palace (h) – W

Watford (a) – W

Southampton (h) – D

West Ham (a) – W

Middlesbrough (h) – W

 

Man United

West Brom (h) – W

Everton (h) – D

Sunderland (a) – W

Chelsea (h) – W

Burnley (a) – W

Man City (a) – L

Swansea (h) – W

Arsenal (a) – D

Tottenham (a) – D

Crystal Palace (h) – W

Southampton (a) – D

 

Arsenal

Man City (h)  – L

West Ham (h) -W

Crystal Palace (a) – D

Middlesbrough (a) – W

Leicester (h) – W

Tottenham (a) – D

Man United (h) – D

Stoke (a) – W

Everton (h) – D

Sunderland (h) – W

Southampton (a) – D

 

Final top-six

  1. Chelsea – 88 pts
  2. Man City – 81
  3. Liverpool – 77
  4. Tottenham – 76
  5. Man United – 74
  6. Arsenal – 70
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Comments

5 responses to “Predicting The Final Top Six: Where Will Liverpool Finish?”

  1. Hobnob Legend says:

    If your prediction is right, Liverpool finishing 4th will not be enough if United win the Europa League will it? Won’t that knock us out?

  2. Garfield says:

    Only if Leicester win the champions league and Manure win the Europa league and finish outside the top four. But according to this we finish 3rd, so a bit optimistic

  3. Hobnob Legend says:

    Oh sorry I thought I read that the prediction was we finish fourth.
    I’m still not holding out much hope, as much as I’d like to see us in there of course; I still think we will have the usual struggles and draw/lose the games we should be realistically cruising through (although the Burnley game restored some hope!).
    Here’s hoping we do get there!

  4. Teddy says:

    Two things I can’t see happening….us finishing above Spurs and us not losing another game. Really really hope I’m wrong!

  5. Jose says:

    United draw too many games. Don’t have the win power to finish top four. There are some quality defenses both in league and Europe that will grind them to a halt. Add in Mourinho playing to not lose to top six and they fall short. Arsenals managerial doubt is crumbling their foundation so we will take it by default w 75

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Published by Anfield Index
Updated: 2017-03-24 15:39:33
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