MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Liverpool have a chance to consolidate their position in the Champions League qualification spots when they take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, while three of the top four are in FA Cup semi-final action.
Looking to benefit from any slipup by Juergen Klopp’s side are fifth-placed Manchester United - unbeaten in 22 games - who will be hoping to make up further ground when they face Burnley at Turf Moor.
A hard-earned 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday lifted Liverpool to third place with five games left for the Reds.
Klopp’s side are unbeaten in seven games and defender Dejan Lovren says they need to maintain that level of consistency during the run-in.
“We have a big thing to achieve - the Champions League. Everyone wants that but if you want to be a top team, you need to continue to play well in every game,” said the Croatia international.
Palace, however, have been revitalised under boss Sam Allardyce and have found some consistency of their own, picking up 13 points from their last six games to surge away from the relegation zone.
Yet their hopes of continuing that good run could be dented by the absence of in-form France centre back Mamadou Sakho, who is not eligible to play as he is on loan at the London club from Liverpool.
United’s win over Chelsea on Sunday has restored belief around Old Trafford that Jose Mourinho’s team can make a push for the top four themselves.
Burnley, however, will not be a pushover and although they are 14th in the table, they have the sixth best home league record and drew at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Three of the Burnley team - keeper Tom Heaton, defender Michael Keane and winger Robbie Brady - were products of United’s youth system and will be looking to prove a point to the club who let them go.
In the relegation battle, Hull City, immediately above the drop zone, will hope to extend their two-point advantage over Swansea City when they host mid-table Watford.
Hull have won five of their last six matches at home but central defender Harry Maguire says they cannot start thinking about the mathematics of survival.
“You see strange results every week and you know you can’t rely on other teams picking up or dropping points, it has to be about what we do,” he said.
Swansea have a realistic hope of points themselves against a Stoke side that are winless in their last five games on the road.
Middlesbrough, four points behind Swansea after their home loss to Arsenal on Monday, travel to the south coast to take on Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis