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Liverpool prove their top 4 credentials

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People said this season that the Premier League had a ‘Big 3′, not a Big 4’, what with Liverpool’s inconsistent performances in the domestic league. Much of that was banter, but if there was any genuine doubt it should have been cleared today with Liverpool’s win over Everton.

It’s not the manner of the win nor the scoreline that counts, but the fact that when Liverpool really needed to win and put 5 points between themselves and their chasing neighbours, they came up with the goods. The next three games on Liverpool’s calender – two trips to the Emirates Stadium following by playing host to Arsenal at Anfield – are crucial games for Liverpool and that away league game to Liverpool was especially crucial, given that a defeat there coupled with not taking full points today would have handed the advantage to Everton.

As things stand, Liverpool have some breathing space and although you wouldn’t expect Rafa to throw the league game at Arsenal for a chance at Champions League success – Everton are still too close for that – the Spaniard can at least be more relaxed and go to the Emirates to play a team who, despite that stunning comeback away to Bolton – are not in the best of form.

Everton fans will claim that according to this table, they should be 3rd / 4th. They’ll claim that they still have a shot at 4th place in the actual league (although they’ll be lucky to still be in with a shout when they travel to the Emirates on 3rd May) and that Liverpool are not as good as they claim.

Everton are certainly right on that last account. Liverpool are not as good as they claim to be, nor are they as consistent as their ambitions demand.

But will Everton be able to beat Birmingham away? Arsenal? Villa and Chelsea at home? Liverpool’s run-in (despite the # of away games) is easier and as long as Torres can keep scoring, they’ll be in the Champions League next season as well.

And until Everton or Tottenham or anyone else can consistently dislodge Liverpool from the top 4, they’ll stay part of the Big Four – even if they are increasingly ‘best of the rest’ rather than ‘one of the best’.

Liverpool remaining 07/08 fixtures

Wednesday, 02 April 2008
Arsenal v Liverpool, Quarter Final, L1, 19:45 (CL)

Saturday, 05 April 2008
Arsenal v Liverpool, 12:45 (L)

Tuesday, 08 April 2008
Liverpool v Arsenal, Quarter Final, L2, 19:45 (CL)

Sunday, 13 April 2008
Liverpool v Blackburn, 13:30 (L)

Saturday, 19 April 2008
Fulham v Liverpool, 15:00 (L)

Saturday, 26 April 2008
Birmingham v Liverpool, 15:00 (L)

Saturday, 03 May 2008
Liverpool v Man City, 15:00 (L)

Sunday, 11 May 2008
Tottenham v Liverpool, 15:00 (L)

Everton remaining 07/08 fixtures

Sunday, 06 April 2008
Everton v Derby, 15:00 (L)

Saturday, 12 April 2008
Birmingham v Everton, 15:00 (L)

Thursday, 17 April 2008
Everton v Chelsea, 20:00 (L)

Sunday, 27 April 2008
Everton v Aston Villa, 16:00 (L)

Saturday, 03 May 2008
Arsenal v Everton, 15:00 (L)

Sunday, 11 May 2008
Everton v Newcastle, 15:00 (L)

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.