Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Dave Thompson

Reds facing potential Champions League nightmare

LIVERPOOL'S poor UEFA ranking means the stakes are even higher when it takes on Middlesbrough on Sunday night to try to seal third in the English Premier League and an automatic spot in next season's UEFA Champions League.

A win might not be enough for Jurgen Klopp's men, however, with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City two points ahead of them before their final-day trip to Watford.

Finishing fourth would mean the Reds likely go into the UCL qualifying draw unseeded, making them vulnerable to the possibility of drawing heavyweights from across the continent, including Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Sporting Lisbon or Sevilla.

Given Arsenal and Manchester City's recent appearances in the UCL, they would be seeded if they came fourth and fell into the qualifying play-off.

Liverpool's last UCL campaign came in 2014-15 and it was absent from this year's Europa League. That means it is no certainty to be protected, despite being a Premier League club.

EPL fixtures (all Sunday midnight kick-off) : Arsenal v Everton, Burnley v West Ham, Chelsea v Sunderland, Hull v Tottenham, Leicester v Bournemouth, Liverpool v Middlesbrough, Man Utd v Crystal Palace, Southampton v Stoke, Swansea v West Brom, Watford v Man City

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