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Will self interest curtail season?


THURSDAY will prove a hugely instructive day in the Premier League season - and Liverpool's title challenge.

Top-flight clubs will take part in an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the campaign, which was last week suspended until the start of next month due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

UEFA's own emergency meeting, which takes place today, will prove influential, although no definitive decision over the fate of the campaign is likely to be made.

Any major change within the Premier League is usually done by majority vote, requiring the agreement of 14 clubs.

These, though, are unprecedented times, and such a ruling on the future of the campaign may not necessarily require such backing.

After all, the choice made by clubs would almost certainly be driven by selfinterest.

But how could Premier League teams vote if asked? Complete the season Liverpool - With the Reds just two wins away from a first title since 1990, they will be extremely keen to finish the campaign.

Leicester City - The Foxes are in line for Champions League qualification for only the second time in their history.

Manchester United - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will fancy their chances of finishing in the top four, which may only have to be a top-five finish if Manchester City's European ban is upheld. They won't want to be back in the Europa League.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United - both are in the running for European qualification and have a chance of a Champions League berth.

Burnley - The Clarets are believed to prefer to see the season played out to a conclusion.

Crystal Palace - Roy Hodgson's side are considered safe from the drop and still have an outside chance of pushing for a top-six berth.

Cancel the season Tottenham Hotspur - The Londoners have had a nightmare campaign and scrapping it would mean their European coefficient remains unaffected.

Arsenal - The Gunners are presently set to miss out on the Champions League and have had a season to forget.

West Ham - Vice-chairman Karren Brady has already made public her thoughts on the matter.

Chelsea - A place in the Champions League would be assured and their transfer ban would have ended with minimal impact.

Watford - The Hornets have spent a fair amount on their squad and cancelling the season would see them safe for another year in the lucrative top flight.

Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City - The struggling quartet wouldn't be blamed for wanting to start afresh. Difficult to call Manchester City - It has been a difficult season for City, but it could be seen as deeply unsporting to deny Liverpool a title that Pep Guardiola has long since admitted the Reds deserve.

Everton - Urging the cancellation of a season in which their neighbours are about to win the league could prove politically explosive.

Southampton and Newcastle United - Both teams are hovering close to the drop zone but still have a reasonable gap.

Could caution be their watchword?


Sadio Mane scoring against Bournemouth - the last time Liverpool played in the Premier League JAN KRUGER

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 17, 2020
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