Liverpool's run to the Europa League final means Chelsea could still qualify for Europe


As Leicester's title party moves from Jamie Vardy's front room to the King Power Stadium this weekend, there is still plenty to play for at the top end of the Premier League - and even Chelsea could yet qualify for Europe.

Yeah, you read that right. Chelsea could still qualify for Europe.

The Blues have had a wretched season, yet with three games to go there is a chance that Antonio Conte will inherit a club in Europe - although it could rely on Liverpool and Manchester United winning silverware.

Potential Premier League finish for each club

There's a web of permutations to work through but to boil it down to basics: if Liverpool and Manchester United win the Europa League and FA Cup finals respectively then there could be eight Premier League teams in Europe next season.

Chelsea could yet finish seventh. Ridiculous, we know.

What GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It's still a long shot but if the Blues win their final three games - and Southampton fail to pick up a point in their final two - Chelsea will qualify for Europe (as long as Manchester United and, or, Liverpool win a trophy).

If that's hard to fathom, it also serves to highlight the fact that the dust certainly has not settled on this season - and we've not even got to the relegation fight yet.

Leicester and Tottenham are the only two clubs assured of Champions League football next season with five other teams still in with a shout of joining them - both Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham.

Liverpool players celebrate

If Liverpool win the Europa League final against Sevilla on May 18 then they'll join Leicester and Spurs no matter what.

Here's where the permutations start to take hold. If the Reds win the Europa League, and fail to finish in the top four, then the Premier League will have five teams in the Champions League next season.

This weekend's clash between Arsenal and Manchester City will have a huge bearing on if they grab a place - both clubs can also still take second place off Spurs - but United and West Ham both have a game in hand below them and each could sneak up as high as third before the season's end.

Yaya Toure on the ball against Arsenal

Behind them, Southampton can qualify for Europe in back-to-back seasons for the second time in their history - they did it back in the 80s.

The Saints could finish as high as fifth although their best hopes of making Europe probably also rely on United and, or, Liverpool winning a trophy.

A key part of the south-coast club's worst-case scenario would see Crystal Palace win the FA Cup final - and secure a Europa League place - which would mean they would at least have to overhaul Manchester United or West Ham to play in Europe next season.

Southampton's Shane Long (celebrates scoring

Palace are still long shots to be relegated - it would take an unlikely series of results - as two out of Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich face the drop.

The Magpies are a point clear, and face Aston Villa on Saturday, but Sunderland and Norwich have a game in hand, which means even if Rafa Benitez's men beat the bottom club they can not guarantee survival this weekend.