Can Liverpool catch Man Utd? Champions League contender faces impossible task with fixtures

Matt Stead
Man Utd player Bruno Fernandes reacts as Liverpool celebrate

One of the five Champions League contenders can probably be ignored but Man Utd should stamp out any hope Liverpool might have of catching the top four.

Newcastle and Man Utd have kindly added some intrigue to the Premier League run-in away from a title race and relegation battle which both seem as though they might well end as they currently are.

Eddie Howe’s Magpies are third on 65 points from 34 games, ahead of Man Utd in fourth on 63 points from 34 games.

Liverpool are lurking behind both after their winning run has dragged them to 62 points from 35 games, while Spurs perhaps cannot be discounted despite sitting sixth on 57 points from 35 games.

They would require perfection and favours elsewhere to crash the party, as would Brighton. Their nonsense of a performance against Everton means a previously imperious position has become seventh on 55 points from 33 games.

Does the fixture list give Brighton any hope whatsoever? Does it balls. If anything it suggests Newcastle and Man Utd should hold on. They should.


May 13, 14 and 15
Newcastle face Leeds (19th, a) on May 13 at 12.30pm

Man Utd face Wolves (13th, h) on May 13 at 3pm

Spurs face Aston Villa (8th, a) on May 13 at 3pm

Brighton face Arsenal (2nd, a) on May 14 at 4.30pm

Liverpool face Leicester (18th, a) on May 15 at 8pm

After their recent slips, both Newcastle and Man Utd have presentable opportunities to regain their footing and consolidate places in the top four. The former make the journey to Leeds knowing full well that Allardyceball awaits them on the other side, while the latter host a Wolves side with nothing on the line.

Spurs could end any faint Aston Villa hopes of European qualification, or just as equally have their own ambitions curtailed by Unai Emery’s side. Brighton could not have a much more difficult assignment than Arsenal away on the Sunday. Liverpool will have a full and frank view of proceedings before visiting Leicester on the Monday evening, knowing precisely what they need to do.


May 18
Newcastle (3rd) face Brighton (7th) at St James’ Park at 7.30pm

It seems unlikely that August’s 0-0 draw between the Magpies and Seagulls at the Amex will be repeated when they clash under the midweek St James’ Park floodlights. But seasons could certainly be shaped around what promises to be a phenomenal game in which no time will be wasted whatsoever.


May 20, 21 and 22
Spurs face Brentford (9th, h) on May 20 at 12.30pm

Man Utd face Bournemouth (14th, a) on May 20 at 3pm

Liverpool face Aston Villa (8th, h) on May 20 at 3pm

Brighton face Southampton (20th, h) on May 21 at 2pm

Newcastle face Leicester (18th, h) on May 22 at 8pm

The Champions League race will again be spread over the course of three days, starting with Spurs and Brentford locking horns at Saturday lunchtime and ending with what ought to be a procession for Newcastle at home to Leicester on the Monday evening.

In between, things could take shape nicely as Man Utd travel to Bournemouth and Liverpool host Aston Villa in games which are unlikely to be as straightforward as Brighton’s game against Southampton on the Sunday.


May 24 and 25
Brighton face Manchester City (1st, h) on May 24 at 8pm

Man Utd face Chelsea (11th, h) on May 25 at 8pm

If Brighton retain any hope of European qualification by their penultimate game of the season, it might not last much longer beyond that. Solly March and friends will have to earn it by holding firm against Manchester City and doing Arsenal a potential title favour in the process.

And Man Utd will hope to have stabilised following their recent wobble long before Chelsea rock up at Old Trafford in that final midweek: their last five meetings have been draws.

Mason Mount turns away from Jadon Sancho as Chelsea take on Man Utd.


May 28
Newcastle face Chelsea (11th, a)

Man Utd face Fulham (1oth, h)

Liverpool face Southampton (20th, a)

Spurs face Leeds (19th, a)

Brighton face Aston Villa (8th, a)

Liverpool and Spurs would be delighted to go into the final day with anything on the line, considering they travel to the current bottom two. The other three sides face mid-table opponents with varying degrees of difficulty – and yet again it’s Brighton who draw the short straw. Even a Conference League spot would take a mammoth effort from this point, despite what the Bantercomputer wants.