They must beat Ajax in the Europa League final next week to return to the pinnacle of European soccer after finishing sixth in the league in Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge.
Klopp will be pushing for all three points against Steve Agnew’s side, with a guaranteed spot in next season’s Champions League in sight. Even if they lose, it would require both their rivals to win and Arsenal to overturn a goal difference deficit of five to leapfrog them.
Pep Guardiola’s men will go into Sunday’s trip to Watford in third place, two points above Liverpool and three clear of Arsenal, knowing victory will seal direct qualification for the 2017/18 Champions League group phase.
Liverpool know they have to win at home to already-relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday to keep Arsenal at arm’s length.
While the Frenchman has weathered the storm of seven defeats in 12 with four successive wins to give Arsenal a chance, there is still a palpable discord between manager and fans. In this scenario, a Liverpool win would mean City and Arsenal playing off for fourth place.
The Chilean global has been one of the only positive features of Arsenal’s 2016/17 campaign, scoring 23 goals in the league and also providing 10 assists for his teammates. Squad depth has been an issue in this campaign, so attracting better quality players is a must, and the Champions League will help them do that.
The upturn in results looks likely to come too late for Arsene Wenger and his side, however, as a place in the top four is now improbable with Liverpool and Manchester City also victorious over the weekend. “At Man City (1-2 on Dec 18) as well we were really unlucky with some decisions”.
They are now fourth in the table on 73 points, with Manchester City third on 75.
As you can see from the table above, the three clubs are now separated by three points, a five-goal swing in goal difference and just one goal scored.
These results would leave the two clubs with 73 points, and goal difference of +31 (75 for, 44 against). A score draw for Arsenal along with a Liverpool loss by exactly two goals would see the two giants tied in fourth position and forced to enter a play-off.