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Liverpool Champions League nightmare plotted by unholy trinity who have already dealt mental blow – Liverpool Echo

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At first glance, it appears a fixture list Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would almost have cherry-picked himself.

A trip today to a team already relegated. Then another on Wednesday playing for absolutely nothing. Followed by a final home game next Sunday in which fans will be welcomed in significant number at Anfield for the first time in more than 14 months.

West Bromwich Albion. Burnley. Crystal Palace.

But closer inspection soon identifies three very real reasons why the Reds will be taking absolutely nothing for granted as they chase the hat-trick of victories that will almost certainly guarantee Champions League qualification.

Sam Allardyce. Sean Dyche. Roy Hodgson.

That unholy trinity, for want of a better phrase, would love nothing more than to be the ones responsible for the deposed Premier League champions missing out on the solace of a top-four finish.

Two of them have already done their bit.

Allardyce, a regular pest to Liverpool during his long managerial career, had only been in charge of West Bromwich Albion a short period when he masterminded them to a 1-1 draw at Anfield over Christmas.

It was the catalyst for a grim run of form which saw the Reds go from Premier League front-runners to scrabbling among the also-rans.

During that period they entertained a Burnley side helmed by Dyche in traditional no-nonsense fashion, for whom a late Ashley Barnes penalty ended Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten home run.

The Lancastrians’ first win at Anfield since 1974, it sparked a dismal sequence as the Reds went on to lose a club record six successive games on their own patch.

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Palace, of course, offered no such issues at Selhurst Park the weekend before Christmas, thrashed 7-0 in Liverpool’s biggest-ever away top-flight triumph.

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But Hodgson will be mindful of his dismal brief spell in charge at Anfield before being jettisoned by new owners Fenway Sports Group – then under the banner of New England Sports Ventures – in January 2011.

Recent history reveals a mixed bag. Allardyce has only one win over Klopp in eight meetings – a 2-1 triumph at Anfield with Palace in April 2017 – but Liverpool have won only one of the last six.

Burnley’s triumph in January was just Dyche’s second against the Reds in 11 attempts, with Klopp having won his last three visits to Turf Moor.

Hodgson, meanwhile, has lost all six meetings with the Reds boss, conceding 21 goals in the process.

Remarkably, only three times in the Premier League era have Liverpool won their final three league games – two years ago under Klopp, along with 2006 and 2009 under Rafa Benitez.

Of course, nine points may not ultimately be required to seal Champions League qualification. But if such a total is needed, it’ll be attained against managers for whom playing against Liverpool is never meaningless.

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