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European places up for grabs in Premier League finale
The final two Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League will be decided on the last gameday of the season – Sunday – with Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester City vying for a place in Europe’s elite club competition.
Thomas Tuchel-coached Chelsea is third on 67 points and will book its place in next season’s Champions League if it wins at Aston Villa. Both Liverpool and Leicester are a point adrift of Chelsea, with the 2019-20 Premier League champion having the edge.
An unbeaten run of nine games, including wins in its last four outings, has propelled Jurgen Klopp’s side above Leicester on goal difference. The (+4) goal difference advantage means that if Liverpool wins against Crystal Palace at home, Leicester would need to beat Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium by an unlikely margin.
Realistically, Leicester, which beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final last Saturday, needs to win and hope one of its rivals slip up. “All we can do is get three points and see where it takes us. The maturity in the team and how the players have fought have allowed us to get into this position,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told reporters in the presser.
“For us, it is about ourselves, we can’t control what Liverpool or Chelsea does. If we arrive in the top-four, it will be a monumental effort.” Rodgers, who had a stint at Anfield, would hope that another former Liverpool boss can do him a favour.
Roy Hodgson will be in charge of Palace for the last time after announcing his retirement at the age of 73. Hodgson was in charge at Anfield during a brief and unsuccessful spell in 2010-11. However, form suggests that his side is unlikely to be a party-pooper.
Meanwhile, Chelsea could have a tough game at Villa, which defeated Tottenham away from home on Wednesday. Europa League and the Europa Conference League spots will also be decided on the final day. Sixth-placed West Ham United, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal will battle it out for slots in the UEFA’s minor club competitions.
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