Can Liverpool take advantage of Manchester City's faltering form?

They may sit seven points behind, but Liverpool will be looking to take advantage and close the gap on City in Monday night's game with Newcastle.

Brendan Rodgers may have secretly given up on a Champions League place a couple of weeks ago, but with City losing twice in the last seven days - to Crystal Palace and in shattering fashion 4-2 to Manchester United on Sunday - it is impossible to ignore the possibility that his Liverpool team could sneak into the top four.

Liverpool play their game in hand over City on Monday night when they host Newcastle United, who are on a run of four straight defeats.

The Reds are dusting themselves down from two consecutive Barclays Premier League defeats in crunch games with Manchester United and Arsenal, but City's miserable current form has kept the door ajar.

In the meantime, Rodgers has also seen his team finally overcome Blackburn Rovers to reach the FA Cup semi-final this weekend, and while some players may have one eye on the Wembley date with Aston Villa, Rodgers will ensure that the focus remains on the outside possibility of claiming Champions League qualification.

A win versus John Carver's Newcastle would leave Liverpool just four points behind City in fifth place.

After the FA Cup semi-final this coming weekend, the Reds then face three very winnable games against West Brom and Hull away, and then QPR at home. Following that they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Champions elect Chelsea, before ending the season with a home game against Crystal Palace and a last-day trip to Stoke. 

Liverpool will soon have a good idea whether a second consecutive season in the Champions League is a possibility, but three points against Newcastle would make the task look a little more possible.

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