Liverpool have just one route to Champions League football next season after second path ruled out
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Liverpool's seven-match winning run in the Premier League finally came to an end on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
The frustrating result at Anfield leaves Liverpool's top-four hopes hanging by a thread, with just one unlikely qualification route now open to the Merseyside club.
For a number of weeks, both Newcastle United and Manchester United will have looked nervously over their shoulders at a resurgent Liverpool, transformed by a key tactical change.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold now excelling in the inverted full-back role, the Reds have made a late charge for the Champions League places – which had looked well out of reach midway through the season.
But on Monday night, Newcastle sealed their return to European football's top competition with a goalless draw against Leicester.
The Magpies had shown signs that they might crumble in the run-in after losing to Arsenal and being held to a draw by Leeds earlier this month.
But a crucial 4-1 win over Brighton steadied the ship before Monday's result confirmed their place in next season's Champions League, with Eddie Howe's side now four points clear of Liverpool and with only one game left in their respective seasons.
Liverpool's final path to Champions League football
There is still hope for Liverpool, however, with one route to the Champions League still open.
Jurgen Klopp's side need fourth-place Manchester United to lose at home to Chelsea on Thursday to take the race for the top four to the final day of the season.
If that happens, Liverpool can then finish above United if they beat Southampton away from home, and Erik ten Hag's side lose at home to Fulham – with the Anfield club's far superior goal difference key.
Klopp, however, has seemingly already accepted his side will be playing Europa League football next season for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign – his season at the club.
Speaking after the draw to Villa, Klopp said: "We will make it [the Europa League] our competition. I am not that spoilt.
"That we are already qualified for the Europa League is incredible with all these teams around us. That's really difficult and we did it, that is good.
"For so long we couldn't even hear the sound of the Champions League, that's how far away we were. The Europe League us absolutely fine.
"Let's see what we can do."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Liverpool, Football, Premier League, Champions League