The countdown to the end of the season is on

As the end of the season approaches, the Reds have six fixtures left in the countdown to the end of the season.

West Brom (A)
Crystal Palace (H)
Watford (A)
Southampton (H)
West Ham (A)
Middlesbrough (H)

Three home games, three away, all against teams that are currently below Liverpool in the table. With those kind of games, we’ve seen Liverpool struggle and often lose. If they win, it’s not pretty.
The most recent ‘ugly’ win was Saturday’s 1-2 victory at the Bet365 Stadium against Stoke. The Reds were down at the end of the first half, and didn’t show many signs of coming back, until the Brazilian duo came on and won the game for them.

The curse

Of course, if you know Liverpool Football Club, you’ll know that they are cursed. With injuries that is. At the most crucial times. First, it was Jordan Henderson. Hendo has been out since February 11 and has just returned from the USA, hopefully ready to return to training. Dejan Lovren was out for a short while but returned recently and has had some great games.

Then there’s Daniel Sturridge. Sent home from La Manga in February due to a virus. Goes to rehab. Picks up a hip injury. IN. REHAB. HOW?!!!! He returned to the bench against Bournemouth though, but I can’t see him starting ahead of Divock Origi anytime soon as the Belgian has been on fire lately.

Then there’s another. The curse of the international break. Adam Lallana. Thigh strain. He is out for a month at least, and could (hopefully) return for our final few fixtures. Before his injury, the midfielder was in fine form for club and country, with three goals and an assist in his last five appearances for England.

Sadio Mané is the latest to be added to the long list of injuries, having picked up a knee injury against Everton earlier this month. The Senegalese has undergone surgery and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. He has scored 13 goals in 27 Premier League appearances for Liverpool and has also had five assists.

Will they do it?

With a few key players still missing from the squad, people are quick to jump to conclusions that Liverpool will not make the top four come the end of the season. Understandable. If you’re familiar with LFC Twitter, the meltdowns following a serious injury are nothing new. Even after a loss – we’ve seen it too many times to be surprised. Fans will jump to conclusions about anything and everything. None of us know what will or won’t happen, so why imagine the worst?

Just read the replies to this tweet. On the whole, people are optimistic, but I’ve had people say I’m crazy for thinking that we’ll get 14 points from our last six.
As hard as it is to believe, it IS possible. Looking at our top-four rivals’ remaining fixtures, we have the easiest run-in. I know, I know. “But Roopa, we struggle against the shit teams” – I hear you. Let’s look at it one game at a time.

West Brom: Away

In the last six Premier League meetings at The Hawthorns, the Reds have only won two, drawn three and lost the other two.
West Brom’s last six games saw them lose four and only win one, against Arsenal two weeks after the Reds also beat Arsenal 3-1.
The Reds on the other hand, have been in better form being unbeaten in their last six. I’m going to be optimistic and go for a 2-1 win for the Reds. Three points.

Crystal Palace: Home

We all know that Palace are our dodgy team. In the last six league meetings, Liverpool have won twice, lost three and drawn once. Earlier this season the Reds travelled to Selhurst Park and beat the Eagles in a 2-4 victory.
Since Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho went on loan to Crystal Palace in January, he kept three clean sheets in his first three appearances and his standout performance was against league leaders, Chelsea. He made nine clearances and five interceptions and picked up Man of the Match against the Blues. The Frenchman was back at the top of his game. Luckily for Liverpool, he cannot play at Anfield on the 23rd – a tactical loan-out by Jürgen? I’ll stay optimistic for this one, 3-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield. Six points so far.

Watford: Away

Watford haven’t done too well at the moment and are currently 10th in the table, having lost three of their last six and drawn one. Before they play Liverpool, they face Swansea and Hull, both teams that are fighting to avoid relegation.

In the last six league meetings between Watford and Liverpool, the Reds have only lost once, away from home in December 2015, having won the other five.
This should be a win for the Reds, given the history, however you still never know with Liverpool. I’ll predict a 2-0 win for Liverpool. That’s nine points so far.

Southampton: Home

It has NOT been easy against these this season. In the Premier League tie against the Saints they both came away with a point each after a goalless draw. They met again twice, in the League Cup semi-final in January. The first leg was at St. Mary’s in which the Reds lost 1-0. Two weeks later, the Saints came to Anfield, where they beat Liverpool 1-0 again, putting them through to the League Cup final having beaten Liverpool 2-0 on aggregate.

January wasn’t easy for Liverpool as it saw them exit all cup competitions so all focus switched to a top-four spot. Southampton are a tough side to beat, but with the home advantage hopefully the Reds can pull it out of the bag. I think we’ll draw this one, 1-1. That takes us to ten points so far.

West Ham: Away

West Ham are currently 14th in the table, and their form hasn’t been brilliant, having lost their last five games. Then again, Liverpool haven’t beaten them since January 2015. In December, the Reds drew 2-2 at Anfield against the Hammers and would hope that they don’t drop points to them again. But it’s been a long time since we beat West Ham and I think it’ll be extremely typical of us to draw against them. 1-1 again maybe. 11 points. You know what’s next..

Middlesbrough: Home

The final game of the season. At Anfield. A big game that could be the deciding game for the top-four. Earlier this season, the Reds travelled to The Riverside stadium and came away with three goals, and three points. It was a great victory for Liverpool having lost and drawn to Bournemouth and West Ham respectively earlier in the month. The win came just five days prior to the late winner against Everton, and must have given Liverpool the boost they needed to go and beat their blue rivals.

As for Middlesbrough, they are currently in the relegation zone. They have some tough fixtures ahead, with Arsenal on Monday, Manchester City, Chelsea and Southampton all ahead of the last game of the season at Anfield. They could already be relegated before the fixture, meaning they don’t have anything to fight for right at the end. 

For Liverpool, it’ll be an opportunity to end on a high and hopefully come away with European football to look forward to in 2017/18. I’m going for a big 4-1 win, because why not? We’ll get 14 points from these next six, ending the season on 77 points. It should be enough for fourth. 

What do you think will happen? Comment or tweet me – really want to know what the general feeling is about whether we will finish in the top four or not!

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