Pundit confident of Liverpool top-four finish as most dangerous rival named

Date published: Monday 1st March 2021 8:28 - Jonny Whitfield

Roberto Firmino, Curtis Jones Sheff Utd v Liverpool February 2021

Danny Murphy believes that Liverpool will go on to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season, with a “long winning run” potentially fuelling their charge.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men ended a run of four successive defeats on Sunday by beating Sheffield United.

But while their three points has not changed the makeup of the table, it has made the race for the top four more interesting.

Sixth-placed Liverpool now sit a point behind Thursday’s opponents Chelsea. What’s more, they are only two behind West Ham who occupy the final Champions League place.

According to Murphy, though, Leicester will become the Reds‘ most dangerous rivals for a top-four finish.

“Leicester already seem to be picking up more injuries, which is a worry,” the pundit told BBC Sport. “Now it looks like they will be without Harvey Barnes for a while, and he will be a big miss. It is going to be tough for them.

“Even so, I think it will either be the Foxes or Liverpool who make fourth place. Both of them have got far more experience of these kind of situations, when the pressure is really on, than Everton or the Hammers do.

“What happened to Leicester last season, when they missed out on the Champions League places after losing to United on the final day, will stand them in good stead this time around.

“For Liverpool, form is temporary and class is permanent – although it might just be the Reds fan in me thinking they can now go on a long winning run.”

Leicester face a tough run-in, with matches against Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea to finish their campaign.

Murphy added that he has always believed that Liverpool have had the “firepower” to turn their season around.

Klopp has had his squad decimated by injuries, with all three senior centre-halves out for the long-term.

Meanwhile, marquee summer signings Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara have both picked up nasty knee injuries.

Murphy assesses other top-four hopefuls

Mourinho.Tottenham.TEAMtalk

Murphy added: “For me, consistency will be the deciding factor. On their day, Tottenham or Arsenal are exciting to watch but I don’t think they will manage to string together the results they need to mount a challenge.

“Everton are capable of doing that, though, and West Ham have been doing it for a few weeks already. The Hammers are another side that are very difficult to break down, as [Manchester] City found out on their way to beating them.

“Ultimately, though, I have a feeling David Moyes’ side might fall a bit short, especially if they have to cope without Tomas Soucek or Declan Rice for any length of time.”

Aston Villa could yet enter the picture if they win their two games in hand. However, like Leicester, they also face a tough run-in.

Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City, Man Utd, Everton and Chelsea all remain on the calendar for Dean Smith’s side.

READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp dismisses critics; ‘doesn’t care’ about aspect of win

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