April 26, 2018, 7:46 pm
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Reds eye points; rivals Cup glory

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND. – Liverpool has a chance to consolidate its position in the Champions League qualification spots when it takes on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, while three of the top four are in FA Cup semifinal action.

Looking to benefit from any slipup by Juergen Klopp’s side is fifth-placed Manchester United–unbeaten in 22 games–which will be hoping to make up further ground when it faces Burnley at Turf Moor.

A hard-earned 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday lifted Liverpool to third place with five games left for the Reds.

Klopp’s side is unbeaten in seven games and defender Dejan Lovren says they need to maintain that level of consistency during the run-in.

“We have a big thing to achieve - the Champions League. Everyone wants that but if you want to be a top team, you need to continue to play well in every game,” said the Croatia international.

Palace, however, has been revitalized under boss Sam Allardyce and has found some consistency of its own, picking up 13 points from its last six games to surge away from the relegation zone.

Yet its hopes of continuing that good run could be dented by the absence of in-form France center back Mamadou Sakho, who is not eligible to play as he is on loan at the London club from Liverpool.

United’s win over Chelsea on Sunday has restored belief around Old Trafford that Jose Mourinho’s team can make a push for the top four themselves.

Burnley, however, will not be a pushover and although it is 14th in the table, it has the sixth-best home league record and drew at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

Three of the Burnley team–keeper Tom Heaton, defender Michael Keane and winger Robbie Brady–were products of United’s youth system and will be looking to prove a point to the club which let them go.

In the relegation battle, Hull City, immediately above the drop zone, will hope to extend its two-point advantage over Swansea City when it hosts mid-table Watford.

Hull has won five of its last six matches at home but central defender Harry Maguire says they cannot start thinking about the mathematics of survival.

“You see strange results every week and you know you can’t rely on other teams picking up or dropping points, it has to be about what we do,” he said.

Swansea has a realistic hope of points itself against a Stoke side that is winless in its last five games on the road.

Middlesbrough, four points behind Swansea after its home loss to Arsenal on Monday, travels to the south coast to take on Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.– Reuters
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