Micah Richards has tipped Liverpool and Leicester to clinch the final two Champions League places on the final day of the season and thinks Chelsea will be the team that misses out.
Liverpool’s impressive 3-0 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday evening saw them move above Leicester into fourth place in the Premier League on goal difference. That has ensured that the race for a coveted top-four spot will go down to the wire.
Chelsea head into their clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday in third place on 67 points, while Jurgen Klopp’s men host Crystal Palace at Anfield trailing the Blues by a point.
Leicester, meanwhile, are also on 66 points but have a goal difference of 20, compared to Liverpool’s 24.
The Foxes play Tottenham, who were woeful in their home loss to Villa on Wednesday night, at the King Power Stadium on the final day knowing they are reliant on the teams above them dropping points.
And that is what Richards believes will happen after backing the Blues to slip up and Leicester and Liverpool to seal a Champions League place.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m going to say Chelsea draw at Villa and Leicester beat Spurs. I think Liverpool will get the job done.
“If there’s one turn that’s what I can see happening. Just because Chelsea have now got their eye on the Champions League final.”
Klopp just wanted the win
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted boosting their goal difference against Burnley was never in his mind despite the statistic potentially being the deciding factor on who secures top four.
Liverpool thrust themselves back into the top four after overseeing a thoroughly professional and commanding 3-0 victory over Burnley. The Clarets had enjoyed success against the Reds earlier this season, with their 1-0 victory at Anfield ending Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten league streak at home.
There was to be no repeat in the reverse fixture, with Roberto Firmino, Nat Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensuring Liverpool enter the final week heavily favoured to secure Champions League qualification.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Klopp said: “It was a semi-final. We had to win the semi-final and we did.
“Nothing is decided yet but we improved our position and we have the final. That’s what we needed. It’s what we deserve because this was a top performance.
“You can’t give any chance away against Burnley because of the way they play. They wanted to go for our centre-halves but our boys did outstandingly well.
“We knew before the game it would be incredibly tough – they had about 3,500 people not on our side. Atmosphere in football is massive.
“I thought the boys dealt really well with that. They didn’t get distracted – they tried to use it because noise is nice. We played a lot of good football stuff.”
More goals a big bonus
Regarding whether he wanted Liverpool to secure a large win to boost their goal difference – a statistic that could prove pivotal in multiple scenarios pending Sunday’s results – the German added: “No. We saw it as a semi-final.
“You can’t go to Burnley and hope to win 3-0. It’s usually incredibly tight.
“We have to make sure we recover quickly. We have a thin squad in some positions. We’ll have to wrap them in cotton wool. I can’t wait for the 10,000 fans at Anfield. Nothing is decided – Palace are strong.”
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