Liverpool, West Ham still battling for top-four spots

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Liverpool v West Ham United
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By Rohith Nair

(Reuters) - With Manchester City already crowned Premier League champions and the three relegation places also decided, all eyes are now focused on the battle for the Champions League spots as the season enters the home stretch.

Second-placed Manchester United have already secured a top- four finish but Leicester City, Chelsea, West Ham United and Liverpool are still in the mix.

As Leicester and Chelsea, third and fourth respectively, shift their focus to Saturday's FA Cup final, they will keep one eye on the league fixtures with West Ham and Liverpool breathing down their necks with games in hand.

Liverpool are seven points behind Chelsea with two games in hand, including Thursday's trip to Old Trafford, but Juergen Klopp knows his 2019 European champions' continued participation in Europe's elite club competition is no longer in their hands.

"We don't blame anyone but ourselves," the Liverpool manager said. "Now we need help from other teams (to qualify for the Champions League), but it's the best we could get and we will deal with that."

On Sunday, Liverpool are up against a side with nothing to play for in relegated West Bromwich Albion, a team Klopp has drawn against five times in eight matches. The German has beaten West Brom boss Sam Allardyce only once in the league.

West Ham have been the dark horses this season under David Moyes and can get within three points of Thomas Tuchel's resurgent Chelsea, who face Manchester City in this season's Champions League final, if they win at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Moyes, who took over a club hovering above the relegation zone last season, is aiming to guide the London side to the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur, eight points behind Chelsea, still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top four but their odds are slim as they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers who have beaten them on their last two visits.

Ninth-placed Everton also have an outside chance of making the top four with four games left and they welcome bottom side Sheffield United, who have won only one away game all season.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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