Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe (left) and Manchester United's Erik ten Hag (right)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe (left) and Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag (right)

There have been various points across this difficult season when it has looked like Liverpool’s top-four hopes were completely over.

A defeat to Bournemouth in March was a particularly low moment for Jurgen Klopp after his team had beaten Manchester United 7-0 six days earlier, while a “season-defining” week against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal after the international break yielded just two points from nine.

After 29 games played, Liverpool trailed Manchester United by as many as 12 points but a six-game winning run has seen them chop that down considerably to just a single point. No-one at Anfield needs to be reminded of how far away from success you can be when you’re just one short, but a stirring end to this term has at least given them a fighting chance as we enter the final weeks.

It is still more hopeful than probable at this stage but back-to-back defeats for Erik ten Hag’s men last week has left the door ajar for Klopp and his players. The majority of Reds supporters probably never thought they would find themselves in with a decent shout at this stage of the season just a few short weeks ago but the fact there is still something to chase offers them reasons for optimism. So, in short, why not?

The reality is Liverpool shouldn’t be anywhere near having an outside chance of Champions League qualification after a season of such tumult, ranging from injuries, loss of form, mental and physical fatigue of both the players and coaching staff, and the impact of the mid-season World Cup.

However, here we are. A mini-flap from Manchester United and a couple of defeats for Newcastle United, along with Liverpool’s strong finish to the season, and there’s a slender possibility of a top-four finish for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

There have in the last two seasons been significant movement in the race for the top four during the final three games, although that was down to some of the main protagonists playing each other during the closing stages. They couldn’t both win.

That won’t happen this time, meaning the Reds need at least two slip-ups from either of their main rivals over their closing four games. That seems unlikely, given Newcastle have actually won eight of their last 10 and United play three of four games at home, where they have been impressive this term. Klopp’s side are going to end up fifth.

The good news for Liverpool, though, is their current form has shown not only to prospective new signings but also themselves the standards of which they remain capable. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but enough encouragement for next season regardless of Champions League football. After all, look at Arsenal this term.

Marcus Banks

Six wins in a row and Liverpool are back in the mix for a top four finish that seemed impossible at one point of the season.

The Reds should beat relegation-threatened Leicester and Southampton with a home game against Aston Villa sandwiched in between – 71 points is a very achievable tally. However, it’s not in Liverpool’s hands and another slip up from Newcastle or Manchester United is needed.

Newcastle should pick up wins against Leicester and Leeds to secure their place meaning Liverpool will need to bank on Erik ten Hag’s side faltering. United play four sides with nothing left to play for and I believe Liverpool will narrowly miss out on the final day of the season.

After reaching the Champions League final last year and qualifying in the last six seasons, of course it would be a bitter end to a season to miss out on the competition but not one Liverpool can’t recover from. The summer rebuild is crucial to getting back in the mix at the top and teams have proven that Champions League football isn’t a huge factor when it comes to transfers.

Manchester United were able to sign the likes of Casemiro and Antony last summer while Arsenal picked up Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko with no Champions League football. A solid transfer window and Liverpool will be back at the top next year.

Charlotte Coates

Liverpool’s top-four challenge looked done and dusted in April, but a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield has sparked something we haven’t seen from the Reds this season – a winning streak.

Six victories on the bounce has put Liverpool just a point behind Manchester United in fourth, with Newcastle in third. The latter duo are still favourites to land those Champions League spots, but Jurgen Klopp will make sure his side are there to capitalise on any more mistakes – and there certainly will be more.

United have lost two in a row while Newcastle also know they need to secure points to gain their spot in Europe’s elite competition. The pressure is on Eddie Howe and Erik ten Hag with not so much certainty over their top-four berths as just weeks ago. Liverpool need to win their remaining three matches and then watch United slip up again to land an unlikely top four spot.

Although I do think Liverpool will creep into the top four, I don’t think it would have a huge impact on the transfer window if they were to miss out. Plans have been drawn up and talks are well underway regards prospective signings. Besides, Klopp has already stated he doesn’t want to recruit players who would only come to Anfield for the Champions League.

Premier League run-in:

Newcastle United (3rd, Pld 34 GD +32 Pts 65): May 13 Leeds (A), May 18 Brighton (H), May 22 Leicester (H), May 28 Chelsea (A)