Liverpool’s defeat means a trip to Arsenal is now a must-win fixture

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Liverpool suffered a home defeat to top-four rivals Manchester United on Sunday and now face a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.

Manchester United moved five points clear of rivals Liverpool with a crucial victory in the race to play Champions League football next season.

Juan Mata’s brace sealed the win for United after Steven Gerrard was sent off just 40 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute.

The result leaves Brendan Rodgers’ men with a mountain to climb if they are to dine at the top table of European football for a second year running.

A quick glance at the fixture list shows that it is not going to get any easier for Liverpool. After brushing themselves down following this disappointment, they must now travel to in-form Arsenal following the international break.

That match has now taken on added importance. The loss to United means that it is imperative that Liverpool make up for it by winning at the Emirates.

With the Red Devils lining up against a relegation-threatened Aston Villa side who they will be expected to beat, there is a strong prospect of an eight-point gap between the two sides developing.

Liverpool will travel to London as the underdogs but they must use their speed on the counter attack to hurt the Gunners.

After this weekend, they can’t afford any more slip-ups and may have to win all of their remaining eight games to have any chance of overhauling United or Arsenal.

There is, however, still plenty to play for, with United still facing fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal while the Gunners face home dates with Liverpool, Chelsea and the aforementioned trip to Old Trafford on May 16.

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