D-day for Liverpool, Burnley, QPR... and Newcastle?

Premier League preview: relegation top of the agenda as Liverpool try to gatecrash Chelsea party

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers
(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

They think it's all over, and in some respects it is with Chelsea already crowned champions. But there are still plenty of things to decide in the Premier League, and many of them could be settled this weekend.

By Sunday evening the make-up top four is likely to have been confirmed and two of the three relegation places will have been decided.

Here's the best of the weekend action as the season approaches its climax:

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Chelsea vs Liverpool

Back in August this fixture looked as though it could be a title-deciding showdown, but on Sunday the only thing at stake is Liverpool's hopes of a top four finish.

The Reds's chances of overhauling Manchester United, who are four points ahead of them with three games remaining, already look pretty forlorn and Brendan Rodgers will be praying that Crystal Palace stun United on Saturday and that Chelsea will be suffering a hangover after their league title celebrations last week.

But the Blues will not roll over. There is no love lost between Liverpool and Jose Mourinho, and fans will need no reminding of the disaster that befell the Reds, and Steven Gerrard in particular, against Chelsea last season. It was just over a year ago that Gerrard's slip gifted the Blues a crucial goal that all but ended their hopes of winning the title for the first time since 1990.

Furthermore Mourinho will be hosting a title celebration at Stamford Bridge and, after going unbeaten at home all season, will not want to blot his copybook at this stage. Cesc Fabregas praised Mourinho's ability to motivate his players this week and there is little doubt he will make sure they are up for this one.

Liverpool, short on goals after another setback for Daniel Sturridge and limping towards the finishing line after a deeply disappointing season, will be lucky to leave with a point.

Hull vs Burnley

The biggest game at the bottom of the table this week sees 17th take on 20th and could end with one of the three relegation places decided. Anything other than a win for Burnley will see them relegated, while a home win would do wonders for the Tigers' chances of survival.

The Claret and Blues look resigned to their fate, and it could be curtains on Saturday. Sean Dyche's men have taken one point from the last six games, while Hull were on a great run before defeat to Arsenal at the start of the week. Neither can Burnley rely on sheer passion to get them over the line as the stakes are almost as high for their rivals, who could have slipped into the bottom three by the time this game kicks off. Hull should prevail to sink Burnley.

Man City v QPR

Who could forget the scenes on the final day of the season in 2011, when Sergio Aguero's late winner against QPR won the title for City in injury time? This end-of-season clash won't be quite as dramatic, but there will be plenty of nail biting in the away end as QPR try to pull off a miracle escape from relegation.

Defeat against second-placed City would send QPR down and a draw would only prolong their agony. In short they need to do something they have not done for more than a month - win a game. Their chances look slim, even against a dispirited City side, who have lost their title but are assured of a place in the top four (barring a sensational series of results and a 24 goals swing in goal difference in favour of Liverpool).

QPR's one hope is that City, with their season all but over, will have their minds on their summer holidays. It's a long shot.

Newcastle vs West Brom

If it's safe to assume that Burnley and QPR are down, then there is only one relegation place left to fill - and many people believe that it could be Newcastle who will fill it. They looked safe not long ago but a run of eight straight defeats has left John Carver's sorry band just two points clear of the drop zone.

Things have not been rosy at St James's Park for some time but the atmosphere now appears to be positively toxic. The Magpies desperately need to show some mettle, but there has been little sign of that in recent weeks. If they start badly things could turn very nasty for the players and owners.

West Brom are not technically safe themselves so will want to take something from this clash, and they could well heap more misery on the Toon Army.

Leicester vs Southampton

The Foxes may be below Newcastle in the table but their form is in stark contrast to that of the Magpies. Manager Nigel Pearson may not be everyone's cup of tea but after five wins out of six, a feat which has earned him the manager of the month award for April, he is getting the job done.

However, Leicester face a stern examination against Southampton who are still vying for a top six finish and have the second-best defence in the division. However, the Foxes' momentum could give them the upper hand. Another victory is not out of the question but a draw may be a more likely outcome, and although it's not ideal Leicester would probably settle for another valuable point.

The weekend's other fixtures:


Everton v Sunderland

Aston Villa v West Ham

Stoke v Tottenham

Crystal Palace v Man Utd


Arsenal v Swansea

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