How Liverpool Can Still Qualify for Europe

Let me begin by being clear: This is a long shot. A REALLY long shot. A lot of stars have to align to make this happen. And as a Liverpool fan, I’m not especially anxious or worried about it. I actually subscribe to the argument that one season without European football wouldn’t hurt us and might actually help, allowing time to rebuild and challenge for the league title (the current Holy Grail for LFC fans) and domestic cups.  And given that Liverpool actually sat 20th in the table at one point this season and genuinely feared a possible relegation battle at the beginning of January, a solid 6th place finish should not be looked on as a failure.

But Liverpool qualifying for European football next season is still mathematically possible if nothing else, so let’s take a look at how it can be done.

First and foremost, Liverpool absolutely must win all of its remaining six fixtures, and not drop a single point. I know what you’re thinking: That’s never going to happen. It is a hard thing to ask, but Liverpool is actually one of the few teams that seem to be growing and improving and coming together as one unit. They haven’t found the level of consistency that they need yet, but recent performances suggest that they do have the talent. If Liverpool can pull it together, they would finish the season on 66 points.

Let’s look at my chart to determine how it may be possible:

Then to finish 5th and qualify for Europa League, just ONE of three things needs to happen.

Let’s start with the LEAST likely: Chelsea needs to drop 14 of its remaining 21 points, which means drawing or losing its remaining seven fixtures (editor’s note: Chelsea beat West Brom today so the Blues now have six fixtures remaining). There is no way I’d ever put money on this, but something is terribly wrong at that club and they’ve gone on bad runs of form already this season. This is a team that is fraying and falling apart. While there is no reason to think that they will go on a run quite that bad, I’m still not sure many among us would be too shocked to see it happen.

The second, only slightly more likely, option for Liverpool is to see Man City drop 9 of its remaining 18 points. Given the quality in the side and the relatively easy run they have, this should never happen. But if Tevez is indeed out for the season, who knows? They always look poor (ironically) when he’s not playing. Like Chelsea they aren’t the most unified side, and while not likely, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them fall apart.

Finally, Liverpool’s most likely option, in my opinion, is for Tottenham to drop 8 of its remaining 21 points. And unlike the other two options that require some stretching of the imagination, this scenario is actually not hard to see. They still have to play away to Chelsea, Man City, and Liverpool, and to host Arsenal. They also face a resurgent West Brom and the ever-unpredictable Blackpool, who thumped them 3-1 when they met in February. If injuries and fatigue catch up with them in the run in, they could have problems, and dropping 8 points would see them finish below Liverpool on goal difference.

(The goal differences between Liverpool and both Chelsea and Man City are likely to be too great for them to finish level on points, so they would need 65 to finish below Liverpool.)

While each of those scenarios are tall orders individually, if a miracle occurs and TWO of them happen, Liverpool could actually finish 4th and make the Champion’s League next season.

As I stated in the beginning, Europe next season is a long shot for Liverpool, and I’m not getting my hopes up or losing sleep over it one way or the other, but after the storms we’ve walked through this season, it is nice to hear the sweet sliver song of a lark in the distance – however faintly.

12 thoughts on “How Liverpool Can Still Qualify for Europe”

  1. I completely agree that it’s a very long shot for Liverpool to make it into Europe next season. I actually think it would be good for them to miss out so they can concentrate on the domestic title. I think CL is not going to happen but Europa League could still happen and that is one competetion Liverpool don’t want to be in since those games are played on Thursday and so Liverpool would have to play on Sundays in the EPL. At least in the CL some games are played on Tuesday which gives an extra day to prepare for a Saturday game. Anyway, I’m hoping Liverpool don’t make 5th. If they can get 4th by some miracle (it’s not in their hands) then King kenny should be crowned King.

    1. Nope. Stoke or Bolton via the FA Cup and Birmingham via the Carling cup have already locked up spots in the Europa Cup. 5th gets the only other spot.

      1. it is reported that Birmingham may run into issues proving to UEFA that they are financially stable enough for Europe next season… if that does indeed happen that could open a spot for Liverpool.

        1. I just googled that in disbelief. And there it was “the club’s Chinese owners have revealed that the club’s liabilities exceeded its assets by more than £31 million.” Now how is it then that Real Madrid, Barca, Man U, Chelsea, Man City etc would qualify under the same fine tooth comb.

          Seems like a double standard of the highest order.

    1. yes. When West Ham lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup they played in Europe the next season. As did Millwall when they lost to Man U. Pompy would have last year, but didn’t meet the financial requirements.

    1. Uh…there is one more thing you might have forgotten with your red-colored glasses on…Everton? Best form in the league right now. Only 2 points behind you. You’ve heard of them, right? Playing with half a squad, and not complaining.

  2. From what I’ve read, if manchester City win the FA Cup and finish 5th, then the team that finsihes 6th gets the Europa league spot instead of the team that loses the FA Cup. So Liverpool can get the Europa League by either finishing 5th (automatic EL place) or finishing 6th with Manchester City winning the FA Cup and finishing 5th.

    This seems probable but City have the easier schedule than Spurs so I expect City to make top 4. Spurs have the edge over Liverpool for the 5th spot because Liverpool are behind them in points and have played two more games. Spurs do have to play City, Liverpool and Arsenal but I don’t expect them to lose all 3 and Liverpool win all their remaining games, not with their injuries at present.

  3. I believe liverpool can still win the league as long as manchester united lose all games and we win by over 10-0 as this will obtain us 5 points instead of 3 😀

  4. hi,

    nice article on how Liverpool can make it into Europe next season.
    Now with 3 more to remain and spur has lost a few point, what is the latest status? I am excited for the next LIV game:)

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