Liverpool face Leeds United tonight in a tense match up between two Premier League sides that went toe-to-toe to start the season and with a top four finish and Champions League qualification on the line for Jürgen Klopp’s injury-riddled Reds.
Or at least that was the story just about 24 hours ago. Now, the story is that the match doesn’t much matter because whether Liverpool finish fourth or sixth or even sixteenth doesn’t really much matter.
That’s thanks to news Liverpool were one of 12 clubs pushing ahead with plans to form a closed Super League that would make Madrid away a yearly right while robbing fans the chance to ever travel to Brussels or Bucharest, Athens or Amsterdam.
News that means games like tonight’s will have all the importance moving forward of a late season clash of the titans between Crystal Palace and Newcastle—news that could have an impact as soon as next season.
That’s because reliable reports have UEFA likely to exclude the 12 breakaway clubs from next season’s European competitions, the Champions League and Premier League. Hardly a surprising reaction given those 12 clubs have decided to destroy the competition.
The repercussions could go beyond that, with UEFA and FIFA suggesting that players on the breakaway clubs could be barred from competing for their national teams—something fans might like but the players surely wouldn’t—if plans move forward.
There remains a chance, of course, that this is all just a power play by some of Europe’s top draws, and once they get concessions the Super League plan will be walked back. Negative reaction could also play a role in forcing it.
For now, though, it does appear very much as though the top four race doesn’t much matter in the Premier League any more, at the very least for a Liverpool side likely not to be in it regardless where they finish.