Sixteen league games remains and Liverpool need to amass 35-39 points to reach top four in the table and in the process qualify for next season´s Champions League. Can it be done? Well, it´s gonna be really difficult. And it requires a far better Liverpool than what we saw in the autumn of 2014.
At the moment Liverpool has collected 35 points in 22 matches. To reach top four we must grab at least 35 points more - in 16 games. The improvement has to be dramatic for the dream to become reality.
The 70 point mark is the minimum requirement to aim for. Because in the last nine campaigns the team in fourth amassed 70 points or more on five occasions. On the other hand, if we can pick up 74 points then CL qualification is almost guaranteed. During the 22 PL seasons played so far the team in fourth has on 19 occasions not reached that amount.
So 70 could be enough and 74 will. Between 35 and 39 points is what Liverpool has to accumulate. Let´s say that it takes 36 points.
In that case Liverpool need to pick up nine points every four games. I have broken it down to four four match sequences and examined how realistic our chances are.
The first four game series include these matches: West Ham home, Everton away, Tottenham home and Southampton away. All really tough fixtures. West Ham is a surprise packet and challenging for top four places. But at L4 they almost always lose, same occurrence now. Everton is not so good this season but I don´t think we can hope for more than one point in the derby. Tottenham at home usually means three points, same again is my guess. Southampton has performed well but must hit a form dip soon. But a draw is what we will manage. This gives us 8 points from these four encounters.
Next up is Manchester City at home, Burnley home, Swansea away, Manchester United home. Another quartet of tricky clashes. Man City is chasing the title but not with the same hunger as last time around. I really think we can down them at Anfield. Newcomer Burnley should also be beaten at Anfield. Swansea away is challenging proposition but they seem vulnerable at times, three points in the Liverpool bag. Four of the last six league matches versus Man United at home has ended in Liverpool victories. Not this time though, I believe in a draw. This means 10 points from these four games. So far a total of 18 points and now another 18 are needed in the last eight matches.
The third four match sequence includes this matches: Arsenal away, Newcastle home, Hull away and West Brom away. Arsenal away is often a hard one but we have coped reasonably well in recent years. But sadly I think we will come up empty-handed now. Newcastle has a terrible record at Anfield, no improvement now. Hull is fighting for their lives and has caused Liverpool problems in recent years. Can happen again, one point is all we get. West Brom is probabaly in a relegation fight and the Reds are often uncomfortable at The Hawthorns. Another draw. This means only 5 points in these four matches.
These are the final four league matches: QPR home, Chelsea away, Crystal Palace home and Stoke away. At Anfield we should dispose of QPR quite easily. It´s another matter completely away to Chelsea who probabaly is close to a title win at this stage. The Reds to lose. Crystal Palace has never won att Anfield in the Premier League. Not this time either, the three points stays at L4. Stoke away is always a tough battle but if Liverpool need to win to have a chance to get to top four then a victory it is. That give us 9 points in the last four encounters.
According to my predictions Liverpool will collect a total of 32 points in the last 16 matches and 67 points over the entire season. This sum is in all likelihood not enough to get to top four. But it´ll be touch and go. I have been both optimistic and pessimistic in my predictions about the 16 games. I would be surprised if Liverpool gather more than 67 points. And that probably means we end up in 5th or 6th place.
Of course I hope I am wrong and that the Reds can amass enough points to reach top four. It will take outstanding performances from now until the end of the season, though. But if Daniel Sturridge returns with his goal hunger intact and the other players chip in much more than up to now, then nothing is impossible. How it pans out remains to be seen when:
We Go Again.