The knockout stage of this season’s Champions League hasn’t even started yet – but holders Liverpool have already qualified for next year’s competition.
Chelsea’s failure to beat Manchester United on Monday night means the Premier League leaders have guaranteed a top-four finish.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are 36 points above fifth-placed Tottenham with 12 games remaining.
But Spurs play Chelsea at the weekend, meaning that if Jose Mourinho’s side did win all of their remaining games and Liverpool lost every one, Chelsea would only be able to reach 74 points and therefore finish behind Liverpool.
Liverpool have reached the last two Champions League finals and face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday. They are the first team in Europe to secure their spot in the elite competition in European football for the 2020-21 season.
As it stands Manchester City are set to be banned from the Champions League next season, meaning that whoever finishes fifth will take their place in the competition.
Liverpool can, in theory, win their first Premier League title against Bournemouth on 7 March. That would require Liverpool to win all their matches in that time with Manchester City, and Leicester City in third, slipping up.
Manchester United hold the record for the earliest Premier League title win, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men claiming the trophy in 2000-01 on 14 April.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport