Thursday’s Manchester derby was a long, drawn-out exercise in tenseness that seemed to satisfy absolutely no one. I don’t know about you, but I had my fingers and toes crossed for a Manchester United loss that would rival that-one-time-Liverpool-visited-Stoke-that-we-absolutely-don’t-talk-about-ever.
With a United loss, Manchester City would have taken third place on the table, but more importantly: United would stop being as much of a threat for fourth place as they are now. Liverpool’s luck being what it is, we were dealt the hand of (hopefully not) short-lived hope instead.
Liverpool is currently in third place, but likely won’t be after this weekend when City play (and presumably beat) Middlesbrough. City’s games after that aren’t exactly going to pose that much of a challenge either: they’ll be playing Crystal Palace, Leicester City, West Brom, and Watford.
Liverpool share some of that roster, with the last four games of the season scheduled against Watford, Southampton, West Brom, and Boro. Given Liverpool’s form these past few months, the team is almost assured of dropping a few points in the upcoming games.
The saving grace is that both United and Arsenal, who are in sixth place, have difficult games ahead as well. United and Arsenal have still to play each other, and both teams will also have to face Tottenham before the end of the season.
Finishing fourth is still possible for Liverpool, of course, but the Reds have no room to slip up in the next four games. And Liverpool could also benefit quite a bit from luck turning away from any of the other sides vying for a Champions League spot.