Man Utd and Liverpool-less top six would symbolise crazy season

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After falling to a 2-1 defeat against Sunderland at the weekend, Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United have now lost to four of the Premier League’s bottom six.

The Red Devils now sit six points off the top four and are in significant danger of finishing the season out of the European places altogether.

That prospect is no longer as unthinkable as it once was. After all, David Moyes’ Old Trafford vintage finishing seventh just two campaigns ago.

What is implausible though, but remains a distinct possibility nonetheless, is the Premier League season ending with both the Red Devils and Liverpool sat outside the top six.

That has never happened before in the division’s 23-term history but would align perfectly in a campaign where Leicester and Tottenham are the top two teams with 12 games to go.

Just three points separate Van Gaal’s outfit in fifth from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in eighth, with Southampton and West Ham providing the competition for the Europa League places in between the old rivals.

While finishing so low in the league is unheard of for United, Liverpool have had to grow accustomed to it over the years.

The Reds have only landed a top-six spot twice in the past seven seasons and are playing too inconsistently to guarantee they leapfrog the Saints, Hammers or Red Devils to alter that statistic.

Two consecutive wins is the best streak the club have managed in the Premier League this season, achieving the feat just three times so far.

Although a 6-0 hammering of relegation-bound Aston Villa last time out certainly boosts the confidence, almost as much as having Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho back in the starting lineup, Klopp hasn’t quite managed to galvanise his new club into a top-flight force just yet.

A tough run in that includes games against Everton, Man City, Chelsea, Southampton and Tottenham awaits the Merseysiders. In such a tight league, the wrong results in a handful of those games could spell the end of Liverpool’s top-six challenge.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.