Commentary

Importance of Tottenham-Liverpool

The match is for the Europa League, but it should've been the Champions League

Updated: May 12, 2011, 2:18 PM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Stats & Information
CrouchIan Kington/AFP/Getty ImagesPeter Crouch and Tottenham need a win this weekend against Liverpool to make the Europa League.

The Champions League race is over in the EPL, as Manchester City claimed the final spot by defeating Tottenham on Tuesday. The loss by Spurs continues a downward spiral for the Champions League quarterfinalists and puts them in imminent danger of missing out on next season's European competition altogether. They travel to Liverpool this weekend in a make-or-break match for England's final Europa League spot.

Tottenham must be asking itself how it came to this. On Feb. 21, Spurs were rolling: They were on a three-game winning streak in the EPL, sitting in fourth place in the table (two points behind City with a game at hand). They had just defeated Milan at the San Siro in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie. Life was good at White Hart Lane.

Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.