Newcastle United’s handed monumental Champions League boost after surprise Liverpool result

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Newcastle United are within touching distance of Champions League football after a key result went their way on Saturday.

Newcastle United have all-but wrapped up their Champions League return after a key result went their way on Saturday.

The Magpies took a big step towards a top four finish on Thursday night when they thrashed Brighton, but they knew they would have to play after top four rivals Manchester United and Liverpool this weekend, potentially adding pressure, particularly given they don’t play until Monday night. But Monday’s clash with strugglers Leicester City at St James’ Park could now be an occasion to celebrate.

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That’s because Liverpool slipped up on Saturday afternoon, drawing at home to Europa League hopefuls Aston Villa.

Jacob Ramsey scored just before the hour-mark at Anfield, and Liverpool had to wait until stoppage time to get an equaliser through Roberto Firmino, but the result all-but ends their top four hopes, with Manchester United defeating Bournemouth away from home. The result at Anfield means Newcastle can now officially book their place in next season’s Champions League with a draw or more on Monday night.

As things stand, Newcastle are three points and seven goals ahead of Liverpool, who have just one game remaining. That means the Magies only need a point from either of their two remaining games to make Champions League football official, and they may even be able to do it without any points - however unlikely that scenario is. Manchester United have an inferior goal difference to the Reds, but they are also three points ahead with two games remaining, also needing just a point.

Either way, Howe’s men will, no doubt, want to go out with a bang in their last two games, and there is a little extra money to be had finishing third instead of fourth, with Man United still able to leapfrog them depending on results. But make no mistake, Monday night’s home clash with Leicester - which is the final home game of the season for the Magpies - could be an occasion of pure celebration for the fans and players should the result go their way.

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As far as seeding is concerned, it’s worth keeping in mind that Newcastle won’t gain any preferred Champions League seeding from finishing third, with second to fourth all determined by coefficient rankings. Given the Magpies’ lack of European history in the last five years - the timeframe used to generate coefficient points - they will 20% of the Premier League’s coefficient points, likely resulting in them being placed in pot four for the group stage draw.

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