Premier League top-four race: Liverpool, Chelsea or Leicester to miss out?

Published on: 15 May 2021

Manchester City and Manchester United have already booked their places in next season's Champions League, but two spots are still up for grabs in the Premier League and it could go right down to the wire.


Team Pld Pts GD

3. Leicester 36 66 +21

4. Chelsea 36 64 +22

5. Liverpool 35 60 +20

6. West Ham 36 59 +10

7. Tottenham 35 56 +20

8. Everton 35 56 +4

Chelsea and Leicester City threw the race wide open after unexpectedly losing at home to Newcastle United and Arsenal respectively. And with the two sides meeting at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, three days after Leicester beat Chelsea 1-0 in the FA Cup final (stream a replay on ESPN+, U.S. only), it means Liverpool have hope of gatecrashing the top four.

Who qualifies for Europe?
Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4
Europa League: 5, 6
Europa Conference League: 7

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Here's what the teams need to do to qualify for the Champions League.

3. Leicester City (36 games, 66 points)
Remaining games: Chelsea (a), Tottenham (h)

Chelsea and Leicester both have the weekend off for the FA Cup final. It means their qualification picture could look different by the time the two clubs face off on Tuesday.

But if Liverpool and West Ham both win this weekend, it's a very simple task for Brendan Rodgers' men: win at Chelsea and they have secured a place in the Champions League.

If they draw, qualification will still be in their own hands but they may need to beat Tottenham on the final day to stay ahead of Chelsea.

Lose to Chelsea, and Leicester would be almost certain to miss out on the top four if Liverpool win their three remaining games.

4. Chelsea (36 games, 64 points)
Remaining games: Leicester (h), Aston Villa (a)


1. Points 2. Goal difference 3. Goals scored 4. Head-to-head points 5. Head-to-head away goals 6. Playoff

If Chelsea can beat Leicester in the league, a place in the Champions League is back in their own hands and, due to West Ham's inferior goal difference, they would only need to match the Foxes' result on the final day.

A draw against Leicester, and Chelsea might need help from others to climb above either Leicester or Liverpool.

Lose to Leicester, and Chelsea's hopes of making next season's Champions League will hang by a thread and they may have to beat Manchester City in this year's final in Porto on May 29.

5. Liverpool (35 games, 60 points)
Remaining games: West Brom (a), Burnley (a), Crystal Palace (h)

Jurgen Klopp's men might only need four points to make the top four, if Chelsea lose both their remaining games. But in reality, Liverpool will be looking to win all three matches.

Their fate isn't quite in their own hands, as they could still finish behind Leicester on goals scored if the Foxes were to lose to Chelsea then heavily beat Tottenham. But nine points is all but certain to give Liverpool a place in the Champions League.

On Tuesday, the Reds will have a clearer picture of exactly what is required from their final two matches.

Anyone else?

West Ham, Tottenham and Everton still have a mathematical chance, but they need a miracle. Arsenal have outside hope of squeezing into 7th for the UEFA Europa Conference League.