Monday, March 29, 2010

Why Liverpool Just Might Make It Back to the Champions League

By El Chupa
Rafa Benitez is claiming that Liverpool Football Club still have their eyes on the fourth spot in the EPL and an automatic bid to the UEFA Champions League.  After Aston Villa's utter annihilation at Stamford Bridge this weekend, it would appear that Man City and Tottenham are the only teams standing in Liverpool's way. Here's why Tottenham will not foil Benitez's plan. 

Currently, Spurs are in the fourth spot with 58 points and Liverpool are two places behind with 54 (Man City are fifth at 56).  Spurs have a game in hand with seven left to play.  The Reds have only six games to play.  At first glance, it might look like Rafa is again blowing smoke, trying to keep the Kop's drunken fans at bay, keep his job, and keep his players from phoning it in the rest of the season.

A quick look at the numbers suggests that Rafa is, in fact, ALL smoke and no fire, but looks can be deceiving. Spurs have averaged 1.87 PTS/Game while the Reds have averaged 1.69.  This projects out to Spurs earning 13 PTS by the end of the season, and LFC earning 10.  This would get Spurs to 71 PTS and Liverpool to 64.  On the face of it, the game-in-hand Spurs have over Liverpool looms rather large, as the mere 4 PTS that separate the two clubs now are really a distortion, and Rafa's impression that he won't be on the job market in a few weeks illusory.

However, before Scouser-haters rejoice, take a look at each team's remaining schedule.  Spurs face 7 teams who together represent 355 PTS earned this year in the EPL.  Liverpool face six teams representing a mere 232 PTS.  Spurs will face, on average, a team "worth" about 51 PTS.  Currently, Aston Villa are at 51 PTS in the league table.  Liverpool, on the other hand, will face, on average, a team "worth" about 38 PTS, such as Fulham or Stoke.  To make matters worse for Spurs, Tottenham will play Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, AND Man City (who are right behind them in the standings).  Liverpool have only Chelsea left to play from the top of the table.  In short, would you rather play Villa seven times in a row, or Fulham six times?

As much as the experts at the Luchametric Institute hate to admit it, Reds fans still have hope of some small shred of redemption at the end of the season.  Spurs fans, on the other hand, have much to hope for, and even more to worry about.

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