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Schedule suggests Liverpool and Man City shootout

2 May 2017
Manchester City v Liverpool

With race for top four wide open, we use the Fixture Difficulty Rankings to rate each team's end-of-season run-in

Liverpool took a big step towards a Premier League top-four finish with a win at Watford on Monday, and a glance at their remaining fixtures suggests they should be confident of holding onto UEFA Champions League qualification.

This is due to the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR) tool from Fantasy Premier League, which says that the Reds have the second-easiest run-in of all top-four chasers. 

See: Premier League table

Manchester City v Liverpool
According to the FDR, Liverpool and Man City have the best run-ins of top-four chasers

The FDR is based on an algorithm analysing the performance statistics for each team across home and away matches, combining this with form over the past six fixtures to create a perceived difficulty value.

The values are simplified into ratings from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest difficulty of a match.

See: More on Fixture Difficulty Ranking

Although Liverpool have only three fixtures left to play, their FDR average is 2.33 – better than all but one of their direct rivals.

Remaining fixtures and FDR average
MW LIV MCI MUN ARS EVE
36 SOU (H) CRY (H)  ARS (A)  MUN (H); SOU (A) SWA (A)
37 WHU (A) LEI (H); WBA (H) TOT (A); SOU (A) STK (A); SUN (H) WAT (H)
38 MID (H)  WAT (A)  CRY (H) EVE (H)  ARS (A)
FDR 2.33 2.00 3.50 2.60 2.67

The only team with a more promising end-of-season schedule is Manchester City

Pep Guardiola's side are three points behind Liverpool but, crucially, have a match in hand. Their goal difference is currently inferior to that of the Reds but their remaining fixtures, three of which are at home, present a great opportunity to beat the Merseysiders to third place. 

Although they are on their longest-ever unbeaten run in a Premier League season, Manchester United have a tough task to break into the top four. 

They have by far the toughest run-in, travelling to fellow top-four hopefuls Arsenal, second-placed Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton in successive Matchweeks before ending the season at home to relegation-battlers Crystal Palace.

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