While Chelsea look all but set to claim their fifth Premier League trophy this year, there’s still plenty to play for below them. And as things stand, we reckon that both Manchester United and Liverpool stand to miss out on a Champions League spot for the second year running.
So what can Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho to get back on-track as we head into the business end of the campaign?
Ladbrokes News assesses the chances of two of the most successful sides in the history of English football…
Liverpool – 4/9
Before the turn of the year, it was a first Premier League title the Reds were chasing. Fast-forward just a month, and they’re not only some 10 points off leaders Chelsea – they’re also now in fourth place following a dismal run of just one win in their last eight in all competitions.
And they’re currently clinging on to that final Champions League spot by the skin of their teeth, ahead of Manchester City only on goal difference.
They’ve lost their impressive unbeaten record at Anfield, and they’re struggling to find goals at the same rate as they managed earlier on in the season.
So how come Klopp’s men are still so short in the race for a Champions League spot?
For starters, the return of Sadio Mane will likely work wonders for this team.
Before leaving the Merseyside outfit to compete in the African Cup of Nations, Mane contributed nine goals and five assists in the top-flight.
Suffice to say he was sorely missed.
But he’s back now, and just in time for a brutal run of fixtures.
After this weekend’s trip to Hull City, Liverpool will face Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Arsenal, Man City and Everton in five of their following six games.
We’re not expecting things to get better any time soon at Anfield. And by the time that horrible run is over, they could be some way off the pace.
Manchester United – 11/8
They may be four points behind the top four following three consecutive draws, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba in your side, anything is possible.
Frustrated by yet another stalemate against Hull this week (their ninth of the season), United missed a great opportunity to close the gap on their rivals.
But luckily for them, no side above them is flying in the league right now.
In fact, in each of the top six’s last three fixtures (a combined total of 18 games), there have been just six wins.
That’s certainly a positive for Jose Mourinho’s men to take into the coming weeks – his rivals can be caught.
However, the Red Devils are still in three other competitions, and will have to balance a push for a Champions League spot with Europa League football and an EFL Cup final, while also trying to defend their Emirates FA Cup.
And a quick glance at Mourinho’s back-up options tells you he doesn’t really boast enough depth in the squad to be able to chop and change things massively in the coming months.
We could be looking at a very tired Man United side come May, and that may just put their top four hopes in jeopardy.
What do fans think? Can either side break into the top four by the end of the season?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing