Manchester United can rest easy on final day

Man United defender Varane should be in the lien-up against Fulham tomorrow. — AP

MANCHESTER United can breathe a sigh of relief now after securing the final Uefa Champions League spot from the Premiership.

After beating Chelsea 4-1 on Thursday, the Red Devils moved up to third place with 72 points, consolidating their spot in the top four to qualify for the lucrative European competition next season.

They can breathe easy and will not have to worry about any results on the final day of the season.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag can even afford to rest most of the first-team players against Fulham at Old Trafford tomorrow, as there is no need to risk any injuries with the mouthwatering FA Cup final against Manchester City next weekend.

The likes of Fred, Wout Weghorst, Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and young prospects like Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri could even get the nod to feature in the starting 11.

Meanwhile, 10th-placed Fulham, with nothing to play for, would probably want to end the season on a positive note after dropping two points against Crystal Palace in their 2-2 draw last week.

Marco Silva’s team have defied the odds to remain in the Premier League by scalping some important wins during the course of the campaign.

Fulham will most likely have the same line-up, with Aleksandar Mitrovic leading the attack while being supported by Harry Wilson and Willian.

It will still make for an interesting individual match-up to see the Serbian international, with 14 league goals to his name, tussle with Rafael Varane.

Liverpool, meanwhile, only have themselves to blame following the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at Anfield last week.

Had the Reds won against the Birmingham-based club, they would have put more pressure on Man United.

The Merseyside club, who have been poor for most of the season, should win against a relegated Southampton side at St Mary’s Stadium on the south coast of England. Brighton are four points back in sixth place.

Liverpool must not be complacent and take Southampton lightly, who are on a 12-match winless streak, including five back-to-back losses.

A win against the fallen Saints will also ensure that the Reds go into next season with some momentum.

The last match of the season will be an opportunity for Mohamed Salah to make his name as the club’s fifth-highest all-time goalscorer.

The Egyptian is currently tied with club legend Steven Gerrard on 186 goals, despite having played fewer games.

Darwin Nunez, who is training individually following a toe injury, could also feature.

Southampton will no doubt be looking ahead and have already started to plan for next season in the EFL Championship.

Some of their star players will want to leave the club to continue playing in the Premier League or in other top-flight leagues in Europe.

A victory for the Saints would probably give the fans some hope that they could make a swift return to the Premier League.

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