MATCHDAY: Liverpool chases CL spot, Lille eyes French title
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
The final two Champions League places are up for grabs on the final day of the Premier League season. Chelsea will be sure of joining Manchester rivals City and United in the competition if it wins, and a victory for Liverpool will also almost certainly be rewarded with a Champions League spot. Chelsea is at Aston Villa and Liverpool hosts Crystal Palace — opponents with nothing to play for. Fifth-place Leicester realistically needs to beat Tottenham and hope either Chelsea or Liverpool fails to win. Brendan Rodgers’ side was in the top four for most of last season before missing out on the final day and a repeat looms for Leicester after dropping out of the qualification places by losing at Chelsea on Tuesday. Sixth-place West Ham hosts Southampton and is set for Europa League qualification. Trailing West Ham by three points are Tottenham and Everton, which plays at champion Man City. Tottenham is in seventh place and holds the spot that earns a place in the new third-tier Europa Conference League but it could be overtaken by north London rival Arsenal, which is a point behind going into the game against Brighton. All the relegation places have already been sealed with Sheffield United, Fulham and West Bromwich going down.
Lille needs a victory at Angers to guarantee a first championship for 10 years and cause a huge upset by stopping Paris Saint-Germain from retaining a title it is so used to winning. But PSG may have a tougher game because it is at a Brest side in 16th place and not safe from 18th — the promotion-relegation playoff. Third-place Monaco is an outside contender to win its first title since 2017. But the principality side needs both Lille and PSG to lose as well as a superior goal difference to Lille if they finish level on 80 points. Monaco can also ill afford a slip at sixth-place Lens since it is only one point ahead of fourth-place Lyon. If Monaco draws and Lyon wins at home to Nice then Lyon takes third and enters Champions League qualifying.
The race for the Champions League positions heads into the final day with three teams fighting it out for the final two berths. AC Milan, which is bidding to return to Europe’s elite after an eight-year absence, visits already-qualified Atalanta. Napoli hosts Hellas Verona. Milan and Napoli are a point ahead of fifth-place Juventus, which visits Bologna in what could be Andrea Pirlo’s last match after just one year as coach of the Bianconeri. Newly crowned Serie A champion Inter Milan will celebrate its title when it hosts Udinese, with 1,000 guests allowed to be present at San Siro. Lazio and Roma visit Sassuolo and Spezia, respectively, and Torino hosts Benevento.
Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla can set a new club record for points earned in a season if it beats Alavés at home on the final day of the Spanish league. Sevilla has 74 points, two fewer than the record of 76 set by the team in 2014-15 under Unai Emery. Sevilla locked up a Champions League berth weeks ago and had come close to entering the title fight before stumbling in recent rounds. It is locked into a fourth-place finish regardless of the outcome. Getafe also visits Granada with nothing at stake for either side.
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