• Dan Tracey


After Thursday’s victory against Manchester United, Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four have been given an almighty boost and with a return to the Champions League posing as the question, we will soon find out if the Merseyside men have the answer.

An answer that will need to see Jurgen Klopp’s men finish in the top four come next Sunday and with the Reds currently one step away from the relative promised land that they are striving to reach, their work is not yet done.

Work that continues this weekend, as the now previous Premier League champions travel to the West Midlands and lying in wait, are a West Brom side who have suffered the ignominy of relegation to the Championship.

After suffering relegation last Sunday, the Baggies must now prepare for life in the second tier and the big question around The Hawthorns at present, is whether Sam Allardyce will be the man who leads them into battle.

The one-time England manager is under contract until the end of next season, although he does have a break clause lying deep within the paperwork and it could be one, that he exercises over the course of the summer.

However, the former Bolton boss may also feel that life in the Championship is perhaps more serene than the bustle of its bigger brother and an opportunity to win a league title, is not one that can be overlooked.

That is the dilemma that will certainly play out over the next few weeks and before Big Sam makes up his mind, he must use his mind to get the better of Liverpool. Because if there is one thing that Allardyce loves, it is the ability to play the role of spoiler.

A role that he and his players performed perfectly at Stamford Bridge recently and although Chelsea may or may not be celebrating an F.A. Cup victory the day before, their eyes will still be fixed on the outcome of this encounter.

A win for Liverpool would put them just a point behind Chelsea and with two games of the season remaining, the Blues will still be in the box seat to finish in the top four. However, there is the small matter of Thomas Tuchel’s men facing Leicester once again.

Because just three days after the F.A. Cup final takes place, the two sides will do it all over again and although silverware will not be up for grabs this time, the result will have serious ramifications in the race for the Champions League places.

If Liverpool can win against West Brom and follow that up with a win against Burnley on Wednesday night, they could find themselves lying fourth in the table going into the final Sunday of the season. That is of course, if Chelsea lose to Leicester the night before.

There is a sense that Liverpool are launching their bid for Champions League football at just the right time, and they could still pip Chelsea to fourth. With that in mind, the next few days are going to be pivotal in this truly exciting race.

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