‘We’ve messed it up’ – John Aldridge highlights one crucial game in Liverpool’s top-four chase

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John Aldridge has lamented how Liverpool passed up their chance to temporarily move into the top four of the Premier League this weekend and believes their Champions League hopes could rest on one fixture in particular.

The Reds would’ve gone fourth ahead of Tottenham for a few hours on Saturday had they beaten Bournemouth, only to miss their opportunity by losing 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium.

Instead, Jurgen Klopp’s team dropped a place after Newcastle’s win over Wolves, with Spurs also winning to move six points clear of the Merseysiders.

Aldridge has now said Liverpool must beat Antonio Conte’s side at Anfield on 30 April if they’re to secure another season in Europe’s premier club competition.

The former Reds and Republic of Ireland striker wrote in his Liverpool ECHO column: “As far as the fight for fourth goes, we got ourselves in a position to make it and we’ve messed it up again. It’s now out of our hands once again after Newcastle and Spurs both picked up three points in their games.

“Klopp probably can’t believe what he is seeing because what can he do when the players step over the white line?

“If we are to qualify for the Champions League, we will have to beat Tottenham at Anfield on April 30. Our next away games are at Manchester City and Chelsea and we will be facing an uphill battle for fourth if we don’t turn up.

“Liverpool have the potential to go unbeaten, so show it. You don’t beat United 7-0 if you’re a bad team.”

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The defeat to Bournemouth was indeed compounded by Spurs and Newcastle subsequently taking full advantage with their wins, and the momentum from the thrashing of Manchester United has now been lost, with Liverpool not in Premier League action again until the start of next month.

The quickfire run of games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal feels like a potential make-or-break in our top-four pursuit. If we can come through that nine-day spell with fourth place looking an attainable target, there’s every reason to be optimistic that we can pull it off.

Like Aldridge says, Tottenham’s visit to Anfield at the end of April could have a massive bearing on which of those teams can clinch a Champions League place for 2023/24.

Dropped points in the same fixture at a similar juncture last season proved fatal in our title challenge coming up just short; we don’t want to look back with regret at the hands of Conte and co again this year.

The weekend’s results have made our task harder, but there are still 12 games remaining to reel in the six-point gap to Spurs and pip them for that all-important fourth place.

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