John Shiels has all the possible scenarios for Liverpool’s qualification into next season’s UEFA Champions League.
With one game remaining in Liverpool’s 2016/17 Premier League campaign it all comes down to the final day at Anfield against Middlesborough this Sunday when Klopp and his players will give it their best shot for all three points and secure a place in the prestigious UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool have been absent from the competition since the 2014/15 season and prior to that the 2008/09 season.
If, and I mean if, the Reds can claim all three points against caretaker manager Steve Agnew’s side on Sunday, this is how the qualifying rounds in the Champions League would look.
A fourth place finish for Liverpool would mean going into a qualifying round along with nine other teams. Two of these teams have already been confirmed as being Sevilla and Sporting Lisbon. The potential German sides are Hoffenheim and Dortmund who are both level on points. In the Serie A, there are two games left and it will either be Napoli or Roma who makes it into this round.
These five teams would then meet those that have come through from the Third Qualifying Round. Teams confirmed as having progressed are PAOK, Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Steaua Bucharest, Nice and Ajax or PSV Eindhoven if Ajax wins the Europa League.
Other potential clubs in this round are Viktoria Plzen, Slavia Prague, Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Gent, Zenit, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas or Istanbul Basaksehir.
With this in mind, the best results for Liverpool this coming weekend would be a win against Middlesbrough and Manchester City to either lose or draw which would mean a third place finish and no Champions League Qualifier. For now, as long as we get the three points against Middlesbrough, the majority of Reds’ fans will be more than satisfied.
However, in an extremely unlikely situation, Liverpool may have to play Arsenal or Manchester City in a playoff.
This would only happen if Liverpool wins by three goals and Man City draw as they would be level on all accounts and one extra game would need to be played to determine the final positions.
An even more unlikely outcome would be Liverpool and Arsenal finishing exactly level and a playoff being required to separate the two. If Liverpool loses by two and Arsenal draw to our Merseyside counterparts a 39th game would have to be played.
The importance of a win on Sunday cannot be overstated as securing passage to next season’s Champions League is vital for both short-term development and the progress of the club in the long term.
Being able to offer Champions League football to transfer targets is hugely important with several of the Reds’ targets looking to compete on Europe’s biggest stage next season.
Three points on Sunday will ensure that Liverpool can conduct positive transfer business and enjoy a progressive preseason before opening the 2017/18 Premier League in style in August.