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Poll: What's a Realistic Finish for Liverpool?

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The club's insistent on pushing top four aspirations at every available opportunity, but annoyance with that clouds an actual discussion about what's a realistic target for Liverpool in the end of the season table.

Alex Livesey

A little-known secret in certain Premier League circles is that, in most situations, the fourth-place spot earns a squad Champions League football. Last season proved most unfortunate for Spurs, who finished fourth but were bumped out of the competition due to Chelsea's first European trophy, but in general the top four clubs in England's top flight will be playing in Europe's most prestigious club competition.

It might be news to Liverpool supporters, who haven't been subjected to weekly assertions that a spot in the top four is just around a corner that lies around another corner just beyond the bend, but the current table indicates that it's going to take an awful lot of doing for Liverpool to find themselves in a competition in which they were once a regular fixture. Four seasons ago a seat on the outside looking in at the top four was incomprehensible, but now it's commonplace, and discussion of how it's attainable despite all indications to the contrary serves more to frustrate than it does to inspire.

Lost in the frustration, though, is an actual discussion about where it's realistic to expect Liverpool to finish. I'd guess for some the top four seems like something that could happen in this reality, or at least one not too distant from it, while for others the talk of finishing much higher than firmly in the middle of table is both grandiose and ignorant. Both of which are admirable values, of course, but not necessarily tethered to a reality in which Liverpool's managed to be inconsistent enough that predicting anything is mostly just an exercise in futility.

With that in mind, we'd be curious to see where folks think Liverpool can actually finish the season. League form's been middling to decent of late, and with only one competition left to play for, there's little for the club to focus on other than their league standing. A somewhat generous schedule has been highlighted by many and might be to Liverpool's benefit down the stretch, but there's no guarantee that they get the results--and the help--they need in order to climb higher in the table.