'Stranger things' - Redknapp delivers verdict on Liverpool and Arsenal top four battle
By Danny Wright
Jamie Redknapp believes that there is a chance that Liverpool could slip up on Sunday and allow Arsenal to finish in the top four.
Both teams are battling it out to qualify for next season’s Champions League with just one point separating them as they go into their final league matches this weekend and although the Reds are currently in pole position, Redknapp admits that “stranger things have happened”.
Arsenal will welcome seventh-placed Everton to the Emirates while Liverpool face already-relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield.
Redknapp, a former Liverpool and Tottenham player, thinks that the odds will be in favour of his old side but their home form in recent weeks could prove to be a big factor.
“As we go into the final weekend of the Premier League season, it’s looking more than likely that Arsenal will miss out on the top four,” said the 43-year-old on the Sky Sports website.
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“They’ve still got an outside chance of making the cut, of course. Liverpool haven’t won any of their last three home games against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Southampton, so could slip-up against Middlesbrough at Anfield, allowing Arsenal to nip in with a win over Everton.
“Stranger things have happened.”
Manchester City also have a very slim chance of dropping out of the top four meaning that Liverpool and the Gunners could both qualify for the Champions League.
However it would take a loss at Watford and a five-goal swing in goal difference for the chasing pack to force Pep Guardiola’s men into next year’s Europa League.
Arsenal have never failed to finish in the top four of the Premier League under Arsene Wenger’s reign while Jurgen Klopp’s side have only ended above sixth place on one occasion in the last eight years.
A top three spot would ensure that team of a place in the group stages of the 2017/18 edition of the Champions League while fourth would see them enter a two-leg play-off fixture beforehand.
In other Liverpool news, Stan Collymore has predicted what he thinks will happen in the battle for European football.