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Brighton just sent Liverpool a Champions League reminder as Jürgen Klopp hopes for Everton repeat



Brighton just sent Liverpool a Champions League reminder as Jürgen Klopp hopes for Everton repeat

Driven forward by Abdoulaye Doucouré, who netted a brace, Everton gave itself the kind of shock result that could yet be enough to stave off the threat of relegation for another season.

Depending on results elsewhere, there might still be more to do — and Manchester City is Sean Dyche’s side’s next opponent — but Everton is now outside of the bottom three having seen Leicester City ship five at Fulham earlier in the day. Absolutely no one saw that 5-1 victory at the Amex Stadium coming.

For Liverpool, as well as watching with interest for the future of its city rival, there was the more immediately-pressing concern of Brighton — a side seven points behind the Reds at kick-off, but then with three (and now two) games in hand.

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Its defeat to Everton means that Brighton’s Champions League hopes — or more accurately, its hopes of finishing above Liverpool — are no longer in the hands of Roberto de Zerbi’s men.

Brighton also has Newcastle, Arsenal and Manchester City to play, as well as Southampton and Aston Villa, meaning that it has the hardest run-in, on paper, of any European-chasing team.

Its defeat, though, shows that nothing can be taken for granted at this point in the campaign. Liverpool needs more surprise results, but no one would have seen Everton being three up at half-time being on the horizon.

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Manchester United is perhaps the most likely side to slip up. A repeat of that surprise Everton win would be nice, but that would not even be necessary. Liverpool — as long as it can avoid any shocks and win its final three fixtures — does not even need Erik ten Hag’s men to lose; only to draw, albeit twice.

Would Manchester United drawing with two of Wolves (H), Bournemouth (A), Chelsea (H) and Fulham (H) be that much of a surprise? Not as much as Everton winning so comfortably at high-flying Brighton.

Newcastle would need to drop points in three matches, with games against Leeds United (A), Brighton (H), Leicester (H) and Chelsea (A) coming up to end the campaign. That would be even more of a surprise, and would take a little more of a collapse, but even that is possible.

At the back end of the Premier League, especially in a season where things are so tight in almost all areas of the table, anything can happen. All Jürgen Klopp’s side can do is keep on winning, a Liverpool hopes for more shocks.


“But it’s not about Liverpool” – Ten Hag remains calm over top-four race despite poor form

Manchester United are in danger of losing their grip on the Champions League places after Erik ten Hag’s men succumbed to back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.

Losses to Brighton and West Ham have put Liverpool within touching distance of the Reds and with four games remaining, United are just one point ahead of their bitter rivals. United do, however, have one game in hand on Jurgen Klopp’s men.

United’s form has dipped over the last six weeks but Ten Hag has maintained that their fate remains in their hands going into the final four games.

The former Ajax manager has insisted that United’s final placement will hinge on themselves rather than Liverpool closing in on them after they picked up some good form.

“Nothing changed, only we could have made it [securing a top-four place] easier when you have a win,” Ten Hag is quoted as saying after the 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium by the official Manchester United website.

“We need three wins in four games, so everything is in our hands and we have to believe.

“But it’s not about Liverpool, it’s about us, because look to the table and we have everything in our hands.

“If we bring our performance, if we bring our standards then we will win games, so we don’t have to look to others – we have to look to ourselves and find a way to win and find a way to get back to our levels.”

SN’s verdict…

Ten Hag has challenged his players publicly on a number of occasions in the last couple of weeks and evidently, it has done very little to arrest United’s decline.

A long season of relentless scheduling started to creep in prior to the international break but with roughly three weeks of the campaign remaining, United look legless and resigned to defeat in most games.

It’s absolutely paramount that Ten Hag finds a way to get his side back on track as another season outside the Champions League could have serious repercussions.

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