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England’s Champions League race goes down to the wire

/ 06:36 PM May 21, 2021
Chelsea's Jorginho celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates

FILE PHOTO: Chelsea’s Jorginho celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates in the Premiere League on May 18, 2021. Pool via REUTERS/Catherine Ivill

MANCHESTER, England—The battle for the final two Champions League qualification spots goes down to the wire on Sunday with Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester City all vying for a place in Europe’s elite competition.

Chelsea is third on 67 points and will book its place with a victory at Aston Villa on Sunday, before it takes on Manchester City in the Champions League final.

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Liverpool and Leicester City are both a point adrift of Chelsea, with the 2019 Champions League winners having the edge.

An unbeaten run of nine games, including wins in their last four outings, has propelled Juergen Klopp’s side above Leicester on goal difference.

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Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates

FILE PHOTO:Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates during a Premier League game on May 19, 2021. Pool via REUTERS/Martin Rickett

The plus-four goal difference advantage means that if Liverpool wins against Crystal Palace on Sunday, Leicester would need to beat Tottenham Hotspur by an unlikely margin to make it into the Champions League for only the second time in its history.

Realistically, the Foxes, who beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final last Saturday, need to win and hope one of their rivals slip up.

“All we can do is get three points and see where it takes us. The maturity in the team and how they’ve fought has allowed us to get into this position,” Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers told reporters following the win over Chelsea.

 Premier League - Manchester United v Leicester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - May 11, 2021 Leicester City's Luke Thomas celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Leicester City’s Luke Thomas celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates  during a Premier League match on May 11, 2021. Pool via REUTERS/Dave Thompson

“For us, it’s about ourselves, we could never control what Liverpool or Chelsea has done. If we arrive in the top four, it will be a monumental effort.”

Rodgers, a former Liverpool manager, will be hoping another ex-Anfield boss can do him a favor.

Roy Hodgson will be in charge of Palace for the last time on Sunday after announcing his departure from the club at the age of 73.

Hodgson was in charge at Anfield during a brief and unsuccessful spell in 2010-11.

Recent form suggests his side is unlikely to be party-poopers however — Palace was beaten 7-0 at home by Liverpool in December and lost 4-0 at Anfield last season.

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TAGS: Champions League, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool
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