It makes complete sense that Liverpool – following their dramatic 2-1 win over West Brom on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a 94th minute headed winner from goalkeeper Alisson – are now available to back at just 1.374/11 to record a Top 4 Finish this season, a shorter price than both Leicester and Chelsea despite both of those clubs being above them in the table.
The reason for that of course is that the Blues will host the Foxes in the Premier League on Tuesday night – guaranteeing that at least one of them will drops points – in a game arguably far more important than Saturday’s FA Cup final, in which Leicester came out on top.
Perhaps the most significant thing to remember is that if Liverpool win their final two matches against Burnley and Crystal Palace then they will end the season on 69 points, meaning it’s impossible for both Chelsea and Leicester to record a higher points tally.
There are some scenarios in which goal difference will be the deciding factor, but before we explain the main possible outcomes let’s take a look at the current standings with Top 4 Finish odds at the time of writing.
Liverpool – Two wins will be enough
Remaining Games: Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H)
Liverpool’s recent late equalisers conceded against Leeds and Newcastle, and their disappointing title defence as a whole – will be forgotten if they can take maximum points from their two remaining fixtures.
Win both games and Jurgen Klopp’s men will almost certainly qualify for next season’s Champions League. They will finish the campaign on 69 points, a tally that can be overtaken by just one of Chelsea or Leicester.
Liverpool will finish in the top four if they win their final two games and…
– Chelsea fail to take maximum points from their two remaining games
– Or, Leicester fail to win any of their two remaining games
– Or, Leicester lose to Chelsea, then beat Tottenham, but have an inferior goal difference to the Reds
That final scenario is worth explaining in more detail. Should Liverpool win their final two games, Chelsea do likewise (which would mean Leicester losing on Tuesday night), and then the Foxes beat Spurs on Sunday then goal difference would come into play between Liverpool and Leicester as both clubs will be on 69 points.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are currently +21, the same as Klopp’s men, but remember, should the above scenario unfold it would involve Leicester losing on Tuesday night, leaving them at best on +20 goals, while Liverpool would beat Burnley leaving them at worst on +22 goals.
That would mean that Leicester would need to beat Tottenham on Sunday by a margin of at least two more goals than Liverpool beat Crystal Palace.
Liverpool will also finish in the top four if…
– They take four more points and Leicester lose both of their final two games
– Or, they take four more points and Leicester only take one more point, but have a better goal difference than the Foxes
– Or, they take four more points and Chelsea only take three more points, but have a better goal difference than the Blues
There are other ways that Liverpool can finish in the top four by winning just one of their remaining two fixtures, but we’re venturing into the realms of unlikeliness as that would involve all three clubs dropping a significant number of points. If that becomes a possibility after the midweek games I’ll do another update.
Chelsea – Is Tuchel’s reign about to unravel
Remaining Games: Leicester (H), Aston Villa (A)
Few managers have won as many plaudits in their first job in the Premier League as Thomas Tuchel has this season. The former Borussia Dortmund and PSG boss has seemingly transformed Chelsea into a well-oiled winning machine, guiding the Blues into the top four while also reaching the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
But those masses of wins and clean sheets came at the expense of entertaining football and a glut of goals. Under Frank Lampard, Chelsea scored at least three goals in a game a staggering 14 times in 29 matches this season. Under Tuchel they’ve scored at least three goals in a game just once (27 games).
Chelsea will go into the final two league games of the season with confidence at rock bottom having lost at home to Arsenal in midweek before losing the FA Cup final to Leicester, failing to score in both games.
There’s a chance that they could end the campaign without any silverware and outside of the top four in what would be a catastrophic end to Tuchel’s first season in charge.
However, Chelsea will finish in the top four if…
– They win their final two league games
– Or, they beat Leicester on Tuesday and then match the Foxes’ result on Sunday
– Or, they take four more points and Leicester fail to beat Tottenham on Sunday
– Or, they take four more points and Liverpool fail to win both of their remaining games
– Or, they take three more points and Liverpool lose one of their final two games
– Or, they take three more points, Liverpool take four, and they have a superior goal difference to the Reds
Like with Liverpool there are scenarios where Chelsea can still finish in the top four without winning any of their remaining fixtures, but those are unlikely situations involving good teams dropping a significant number of points against inferior opposition.
Leicester – Tuesday win over Chelsea the target
Remaining Games: Chelsea (A), Tottenham (H)
It’s been another excellent season for Leicester, culminating in lifting the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday thanks to Youri Tielemans’ stunning winner against Chelsea.
While European football is now guaranteed at the King Power Stadium next season, Brendan Rodgers and his team will surely have bad memories of their late collapse last term that saw them fall out of the Champions League places on the final day of the season.
The Foxes have the toughest run-in of the three teams chasing a Top 4 Finish but they know that winning just one of their remaining two games will give them a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Leicester will finish in the top four if…
– They beat Chelsea on Tuesday night
– Or, they draw with Chelsea and beat Tottenham on Sunday
– Or, they draw with Chelsea and match the Blues’ result on Sunday
– Or, they lose to Chelsea, beat Tottenham on Sunday and Chelsea don’t beat Aston Villa
– Or, they beat Tottenham and Liverpool fail to win both of their remaining games
– Or, they draw both of their remaining games and Liverpool fail to win both of their remaining games
– Or, they take one more point and Liverpool lose one of their remaining games
– Or, they lose to Chelsea, beat Tottenham, and have a better goal difference than Liverpool should they win both of their remaining games
– Or, they lose both of their games and Liverpool fail to win any of their remaining games
We’ll have insight, previews and tips for all the final week Premier League fixtures here on betting.betfair.