Following a throbbing last day of Premier League activity that saw a tsunami of goals across the 10 games, Liverpool sealed fourth spot with a comprehensive win over Brighton.
There had been a slim chance that Chelsea could leapfrog the Merseysiders if they won, Liverpool lost and there was a huge swing in goal difference – but Antonio Conte’s side suffered a humiliating loss at Newcastle.
Even if Liverpool had missed out on the top four, winning their upcoming Champions League final against Real Madrid would have secured their place in the competition regardless – so is it a similar case for Chelsea?
Will fifth place qualify if Liverpool win the Champions League?
The short answer is: no. The only circumstances in which a country can have more than four participants in the Champions League is if a team wins the Champions League or Europa League while finishing outside the automatic qualification spots.
This has happened before, both when Manchester United won the Europa League last season while only finishing sixth, and when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2011/12.
But, sadly for Chelsea, their failure to make the final of either European cup, coupled with their fifth-place finish, means they will definitely be playing in the Europa League next season even if Liverpool beat Real Madrid.
The Champions League final will, however, determine which pot the Reds end up in for the group stage draw: win in Kiev and they will be seeded in pot 1, lose and they will be in pot 3.
When is the Champions League final?
The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool will take place in Kiev – the capital of Ukraine – on Saturday May 26th.
The game will kick off at 19.45 BST, and takes place at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, which was recently reconstructed for Euro 2012 where it hosted the final.
When is the draw for the Champions League 2018/19 group stage?
Incredibly, the preliminary round draw for the Champions League – which features teams from Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar and Kosovo – takes place before the World Cup has even started, with matches scheduled in the middle of the tournament. The first qualifying round, which will involve Celtic, also overlaps with the World Cup, though the play-off proper is not until the end of August.
No Premier League clubs will have to worry about that, though, with all four sides going straight in the group stages. The draw for the group stage will take place on Thursday August 30th in Monaco, not the usual location of Nyon, with the first matches played in the middle of September.