Can Fixture Pile Up Damage Liverpool’s Top Four Chances?


The race for the final two Champions League places is certainly hotting up in England.

Only four points separate Arsenal in third spot and Tottenham who currently sit in seventh place. Also in the mix are Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, underdogs Southampton and Liverpool.

Out of those sides Liverpool are currently raising eyebrows with their superb form.

Goalscoring striker Daniel Sturridge has returned from injury just in time for the run in, Raheem Sterling continues to impress, Philippe Coutinho is once again delivering creative masterpieces, captain Steven Gerrard will want to end his Liverpool career on a high, keeper Simon Mignolet is back in form, new-boys; Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana are settling into the side and Mario Balotelli has finally come to the party too.

Manager Brendan Rodgers seems to have found a formation (3-4-2-1) that he trusts and gets Liverpool playing the pressing attacking style that he wants, with added defensive discipline.

So when you look at current form and the fact that they are on the rise, you would look at the Merseyside ‘Reds’ as one of the teams that should cement a ‘Top Four’ spot.

But alas football isn’t always that simple.

Fixtures might work against the Anfield outfit.

They are currently fighting on three fronts (English Premier League, Europa League and the FA Cup).

That could mean that they are going to play more fixtures than most. But Arsenal are also in the Champions League and FA Cup, while Spurs are in Europa League and League Cup. While Man United are still in the FA Cup hunt.

But Liverpool also have to take into account that they have tough league encounters against Manchester City (home), Man Utd (home), Arsenal (away) and Chelsea (away) in their run in.

The Man City clash will happen just three days after Liverpool take on Besiktas in Istanbul. Now the Europa League has been ¬†looked upon as a bit of a Mickey Mouse competition for some of Europe’s bigger sides in recent years. But this season is different, this season the winners will qualify for next seasons Champions League!

That is a golden carrot and one teams can’t really ignore. So only at your own peril can you rotate your side or play a second string in the Europa League this term.

Imagine if Brendan Rodgers made wholesale changes for the match against Besiktas and they get dumped out in Turkey. Then they lose at home to Man City three days later. That would cause outrage amongst the Liverpool faithful and within the boardroom too.

The Europa League has become more important than the FA Cup this campaign.

You then look at when they are playing these sides. They take on City next weekend, a week after Man City cut the gap on leaders Chelsea and now have¬†star-man Yaya Toure back in City’s fold.

The derby against Man United is always hugely anticipated and with the two vying for the same goal, it will be extremely hard for each side to break the other down.

Then there is Arsenal, who’ve only lost once at home in the league this season, while Brendan’s men have lost five away from home this term. The Gunners like Liverpool are also getting players back from injury and finding form.

Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with only weeks remaining could be extremely tough if the London side are still trying to clinch the league title.

These crucial ties could be Liverpool’s undoing but that said, no one said it would be easy for any side to finish in the EPL’s top four. Plus all the contenders are more than capable to slipping up against supposed lesser teams.

Liverpool will hope winning breeds confidence and that they can keep this run going, they haven’t lost since their 3-0 defeat to Man United in December.

They have the players to really make a go of it in all competitions but they’ll hope that their early season form doesn’t comeback to haunt them and that they can record a few big victories over some of their rivals before the season ends.

It’s all too tight at the top to say for definite who will secure Champions League football next term but I think Liverpool will be there or thereabouts come May the twenty-fourth!

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