Match-Day Musings: Can Liverpool make the Champions League?

Liverpool have recently been on good form, especially in the English Premier League, and could still qualify for the Champions League if they keep on this form through year-end.  They have won each of their last four games in all competitions and out of those games they have scored fifteen goals and allowing just three.  But it has largely been a one man show, with their star forward Luis Suarez has scored seven goals during this run and an impressive twenty-seven so far this season.  The Uruguayan has helped Liverpool rise to sixth in the Premier League and Liverpool’s only tough matches they have to play left in the season are against Everton and Chelsea which could help them rise more if won.  This raises two questions “can they qualify”  and “is Liverpool a one man show (with Suarez)”.

Qualification is defiantly possible if they win most of their remaining games (against Southampton, Aston Villa, West Ham, Reading, Chelsea, Newcastle, Everton, Fulham, and QPR) despite the seven point gap verses Chelsea in the fourth spot.  Also, Chelsea (and Arsenal) have a game in hand which could make the gap ten points.  Their competitors for the final two spots (assuming Manchester United and Manchester City stay in first and second place) are Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Arsenal, and to a lesser extent Everton.  All of those sides still have to play two or three good sides in the run-in and if they drop points Liverpool could pounce.

As for Suarez, he is definitely one of the main reasons Liverpool are playing well and along with new signing Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard he is what makes Liverpool tick.  Liverpool can function without him, but to stay a side competing for European qualification Liverpool need Suarez and they are lucky that the twenty-six-year-old has played thirty-nine out of Liverpool’s forty-five competitive matches so far this season.  If Liverpool were to not qualify for any European tournaments, Suarez could seek to leave the club, and unless Liverpool sign a comparable front man, this could be the end of Liverpool’s European hopes next year.

In my view, Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League and, if not, then will likely qualify for the Europa League.  Making the Champions League would take a dash of luck however.  Yes, Suarez is their best player and is their best hope for Champions League but they can still be a side competing for a Europa League spot without him.  If Suarez leaves next season, the next hope (for Liverpool) could be eighteen-year-old Raheem Sterling, who is already one of Liverpool’s best players and recently signed a five-year contract extension with Liverpool.

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