The Premier League season ends this weekend and the only thing left to be decided is which teams will qualify for the Champions League.
Both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have guaranteed their places in the group stages of the Champions League next season. Manchester City currently lie in 3rd place, on 75 points and Liverpool are in 4th place, on 73 points.
Liverpool only need to equal or better Arsenal’s result this weekend and they will remain in the top four and play Champions League football next season.
With Middlesbrough at home their final fixture surely, they will do enough to remain in 4th place and bring the big European nights back to Anfield.
Liverpool vs. Middlesbrough
Premier League – Sunday 21st May 2017 – 3:00pm
Best Odd of: 1/7 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 8/1 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 22/1 Ladbrokes
Liverpool should be confident of winning this match and staying in the top four, having tasted defeat only once in their previous 12 Premier League games. With victories over Arsenal and Everton, Liverpool found their way back from a poor run of results after Christmas.
Having said that, one look at some of Liverpool’s home results this season and perhaps this match is not as clear cut as it first appears.
Liverpool have failed to win in their last 3 home Premier League games, drawing to Bournemouth and Southampton and being beaten by Crystal Palace. These results do not inspire confidence.
In addition, Liverpool have dropped points at home this season to West Ham United and Swansea City, teams in the bottom half of the table.
Middlesbrough travel to Anfield with nothing left to play for this season, having already been relegated back to the Championship.
It’s been a disappointing campaign and Middlesbrough have won just 1 of their previous 20 Premier League games. With this form, it’s hardly surprising they have been sent back to the Championship at the first attempt.
They have won only 1 match away from home all season, which came at Sunderland, the only team below Middlesbrough in the league table. However, Middlesbrough fans will be keen to give their team a good send off and having held Arsenal and Manchester City to draws away from home, they will be hoping for more of the same in this game.
Jordan Henderson could make a return to the Liverpool team for this match but as it is the final game of the season, Jurgen Klopp will not risk the midfielder unless he is 100% fit. Roberto Firmino remains a doubt and Klopp may opt to stick with Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge in attack.
Middlesbrough have doubts over Gaston Ramirez, Victor Valdes, Daniel Ayala and Adlene Guedioura. Steve Agnew may opt to give Patrick Bamford another game up-front after the English striker scored last weekend.
Top Betting Tips: Can Liverpool Hold on to Fourth Place?
Given what is at stake for Liverpool plus the fact Middlesbrough have nothing to play for, you would think a home win is almost guaranteed in this game. The bookmakers agree and you can get 1/6 with Ladbrokes for Liverpool to win the game.
As mentioned above, Middlesbrough have held two of the current top five teams to draws away from home this season. If Liverpool fail to make an early breakthrough, the atmosphere will get tense at Anfield, something Middlesbrough can use to their advantage. Ladbrokes offer 7/1 for this match to end level.
However, Middlesbrough have conceded at least 3 goals in each of their last 3 games and Liverpool have kept a clean sheet over the same period of games. You can back a 3-0 Liverpool win at 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
Given the way this season has panned out for Liverpool, it wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t make their fans sweat in this match. Liverpool have struggled against teams from the bottom half of the league and Liverpool to win by a 1 goal margin is on offer at 10/3 with Ladbrokes.