Liverpool have almost certainly been spared a nightmare Champions League qualification scenario after Arsenal missed out on the Europa League final.

The Gunners failed to overturn a first-leg deficit to beat Villarreal on Thursday and set up an all-English final against Manchester United later this month.

And the elimination suffered by Mikel Arteta's side means Liverpool can only have themselves to blame for failing to earn a Champions League berth this season.

The Reds already face an uphill task to finish in the top four and retain their place among Europe's upper echelons following a difficult campaign.

Jurgen Klopp's side, who have a game in hand, are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with only five matches remaining, and also currently stand behind West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table.

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But there was a real chance that finishing fourth may not have been enough to earn a Champions League spot.

It required Chelsea to finish outside the top four and beat Manchester City in the European Cup final, and Arsenal, who are out of the running in ninth place, lift the Europa League.

Winning those finals earns a place in the following season's Champions League and, with domestic leagues only allowed a maximum of five teams in the competition, Chelsea and Arsenal would qualify along with those in the Premier League's top three - likely to be Manchester City, United and Leicester City.

However, Arsenal's exit to Villarreal means only a preposterous series of events that sees United and Chelsea drop out of the top four and both claim a European trophy would stop fourth place taking a Champions League spot.