It’s no April Fool’s joke, Liverpool can still affect title race

Liverpool

Liverpool may have no hope of winning the English Premier League this year, and only a slim chance of playing in the Champions League next season.

But in the next week or so, it could decide the title race as it plays Manchester City tomorrow (7.30pm), and Arsenal, next Sunday.

Arsenal leads the table with 69 points from 28 matches, with City eight points behind, having played a game less.

Liverpool is sixth with 42 points from 26 games, with Manchester United (50), Tottenham (49), and Newcastle (47), ahead of it.

Only the top four teams will play in next season’s Champions League.

The fifth-placed team and FA Cup winner qualifies for the Europa League, while the League Cup winner qualifies for the UEFA Conference League.

However, should the winners of both domestic trophies finish in the top four, they will automatically go to the Champions League.

In that case, the sixth-place team also qualifies for the Europa League, and the team that finishes seventh, will go to the Conference League. Brighton currently occupies that spot, with 42 points.

It will be a tough return to action for Liverpool, which has not played for 17 days, as it also meets Chelsea on Wednesday (3am).

Jurgen Klopp’s men have not been firing on all cylinders, and have only won three away games all season and collected a measly 12 points.

Going to the Etihad is never easy, especially with City still in with a chance of retaining its title.

City is desperate to reduce the gap on Arsenal but may have to make do without the prolific Erling Haaland, who has 42 goals in his debut season.

The Norwegian, set to be the EPL’s first £500,000-a-week player when City gives him improved terms at the end of the season, sat out last week’s international break with a groin injury.

He remains a doubt for tomorrow’s fixtures, although sceptics believe it is mind games by City manager Pep Guardiola, who hopes to avenge the 1-0 defeat at Anfield last October.

Arsenal hosts Leeds, which will be keen to continue new manager Javi Gracia’s impressive start.

The Spaniard, who replaced Jesse Marsch last month, has won two of his four matches. Marsch only won four times from 27 games.

Arsenal has won its last five matches and should extend that run tomorrow (10pm).

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
SATURDAY
Manchester City vs Liverpool (7.30pm)
Bournemouth vs Fulham (10pm)
Nottingham Forest vs Wolves (10pm)
Crystal Palace vs Leicester (10pm)
Arsenal vs Leeds (10pm)
Brighton vs Brentford (10pm)

SUNDAY
Chelsea vs Aston Villa (12.30am)
West Ham vs Southampton (9pm)
Newcastle vs Manchester United (11.30pm)

TUESDAY
Everton vs Tottenham (3am)

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