With Chelsea stumbling at home to Huddersfield on Wednesday night, Liverpool are now a single point — up for grabs at home against Brighton in the season’s final Premier League fixture — away from clinching Champions League participation next year. Having earned only two points from their last three matches, the Reds have made the season run-in far more exciting than appeared necessary a few short weeks ago, but in the end, they end the season in control of their own fate.
It didn’t have to be this way, however, had the Merseysiders not suffered virtually all of their injuries to the same position group, with central midfielder Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all missing in the hectic spring schedule. The remaining starters have looked increasingly diminished as the season has wound down, and were clearly running on fumes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
It is a little late, then — with only two games remaining, preceded by seven and thirteen days of rest — but at least Adam Lallana is back in training. The former Southampton man missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury, and managed only a scattershot 400 minute before fading out of the first team with the problem flaring back up. Now, it looks as though the 29-year old will be available for the final two games of the Reds’ season, including the match of the decade; the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Lallana also remains an outside shot to make England’s World Cup squad.
Elsewhere, Emre Can’s indeterminate back injury looks set to keep the German out for the remainder of the season, and in all likelihood the remainder of his Liverpool career. The 24-year old left the pitch following a hard fall against Watford back in march and has been absent the matchday squad since, causing an anticlimactic conclusion to his Anfield stay.