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Premier League fifth-place qualification rules explained as Liverpool staff member confirms exit



Premier League fifth-place qualification rules explained as Liverpool staff member confirms exit

Premier League fifth-place qualification rules if Man City win Champions League and Liverpool miss top four

Liverpool have left it late to mount their charge for Champions League qualification this season – but there is still chance they could make it through to the marquee European competition.

Amid what has been a largely frustrating campaign at Anfield, six wins on the spin have seen the Reds move up to fifth position in the Premier League standings. They are one point behind Manchester United right now, but their arch rivals do still have a game in hand to come.

Back-to-back defeats for United have given Liverpool revived hope, while there would be additional spots in Europe for English clubs if Manchester City and West Ham win the Champions League and Europa Conference League respectively. However, there will strictly be no extra ticket to the top table if City reign supreme.

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After drawing 1-1 with semi-final opponents and holders Real Madrid at the fearsome Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night, City are potentially two games away from getting their hands on elusive European honours. Either they or Real will meet one of the Milan clubs in the Istanbul showpiece on June 10.

However, the results will not particularly have an impact on what UEFA competition Liverpool will be playing in next season. As per qualification rules, City will earn their right to a Champions League spot by getting their hands on the famous trophy, but they have already done so due to their Premier League finish.

Read the full story, here.

Liverpool coaching staff member confirms summer departure as Jurgen Klopp message sent

Thomas Gronnemark will leave Liverpool at the end of the season after five years as the club’s specialist throw-in coach.

The Dane was employed by Jurgen Klopp at the start of the 2018/19 campaign after the Reds boss discovered that his team were losing possession too often from their own throws.

Liverpool initially ranked 18th in the Premier League for taking throw-ins when under pressure, meaning they often lost the ball when restarting play but Gronnemark’s coaching saw a dramatic rise at Anfield, to the point where they were retaining possession over 68% of the time. That was a tally which took them to the top spot in England and second in Europe behind only FC Midtjylland, who were the other club who the specialist was working with at the time.

Gronnemark’s first two full seasons at Anfield – a period when he would visit Merseyside around a half dozen times a campaign – saw Liverpool win the Premier League and Champions League while also celebrating a first-ever Club World Cup in December 2019.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions, which were compounded by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, have made it more difficult for Gronnemark to visit as often as he had previously been able to and it’s understood the coach has been limited in the number of sessions he has put on at the club in recent years as a result.

The nature of the 21/22 campaign, when the Reds played 63 games in total, also reduced the time available to the coaching staff on the training pitches, which inevitably had a knock-on effect on Gronnemark’s time with the first-team players.

Read the full story, here.


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Liverpool should have two questions as X-rated verdict offers Jörg Schmadtke transfer insight

Liverpool is searching for a successor to Julian Ward as its sporting director, with Michael Edwards’ replacement set to leave 12 months after taking the job. Jörg Schmadtke is the frontrunner, which has led to much discussion in Germany.

“Am I allowed to swear? When I saw this break over the weekend, my original reaction was ‘What the actual f***?’,” Bundesliga expert Archie Rhind-Tutt told The Anfield Wrap about his views on the news.

“While he has a good reputation, he is somebody that I associate with the Bundesliga carousel. Schmadtke has done the rounds in the Bundesliga as a sporting director and he has been successful, but he has never gone beyond a certain height.

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“His last job was at Wolfsburg, where he said he was retiring. That was another reason why I reacted the way that I did — he is not just going to the Premier League, but one of the biggest clubs. This took me by surprise.”

It was suggested by BILD’s Christian Falk over the weekend that Schmadtke was not actually a long-term appointment but that he would be coming in as a short-term fix. “According to our information, Schmadtke is actually in talks with Liverpool first about a post as ‘external consultant for transfers’ for temporary support,” Falk tweeted.

Quite what his role might be at Anfield remains to be seen, but talks have taken place over the position at Liverpool and he appears to be the leading candidate.

Schmadtke has a good relationship with Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool would not be hiring the 59-year-old without being certain that he was a good fit, but there are reasonable questions that a wildcard appointment would create.

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For one, Schmadtke has never worked at a club with Liverpool’s profile and stature — and therefore has no experience of player trading at the very highest level.

That is not necessarily insurmountable, of course. With a different budget, there is no reason to think that Schmadtke’s ability to spot a player could not translate at the upper end of the transfer market.

The other big difference between sporting directors in the Bundesliga and in England is the contrast in how visible they are. Edwards was famously something of a mysterious figure among Liverpool fans, and Ward has been the same.

Few Reds fans would know what either of their previous two sporting directors sounded like, and neither has conducted interviews. In Germany, sporting directors are as vocal as managers and regularly speak with the media. It was incredibly rare — and spoke volumes for his exceptional success — that Edwards gave an interview upon his departure from Liverpool being made public.

In Germany, however, sporting directors are regularly asked questions by the press. This is what has led to Schmadtke building a persona of being a funny character, but by all accounts someone who is not afraid of speaking his mind. That has led to fallouts in the past after differences in opinion.

“I’m not as big an ass as you might think,” he said earlier this year. If Schmadtke does arrive at Liverpool, that would point to that being the case, but there are other question marks that would arise if a deal is confirmed.

Chiefly, how Schmadtke could adapt to a bigger club than he has worked in before and with a more understated and behind-the-scenes brief appear to be the big questions coming from Germany. In such a vital role as one of the leading voices on transfer decisions, it is massively important that Liverpool gets the appointment right.



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