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Manchester United almost assured of Champions League football

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Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool means that Manchester United are almost certain to qualify for the Champions League.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United had a seven-point lead over Liverpool, in fifth place, before kick off, meaning that had Liverpool triumphed at Stamford Bridge that the lead would be reduced to just four with two games to play. For United, whose next game was against Arsenal, and final game against Hull City - who would likely be playing for survival - it would have been an uncomfortable end to the season.

Fortunately for United, Chelsea took the lead in the first half with a goal from everyone's favourite diversity champion, John Terry, who headed past a sliding (NB definitely not slipping) Steven Gerrard on the goal line. It appeared from then that Chelsea were happy to shut up shop and wait out the rest of the game. Jose Mourinho has an amusing antipathy for Liverpool, and he had cleared communicated that sentiment to his players. In the opening stages, Cesc Fabregas should have been sent off for a reckless, studs-up challenge on Raheem Sterling.

Just before half-time, Gerrard equalised from a corner, but despite some occasional second-half pressure from the away side, they could not break Chelsea down. United go into the last game with a six-point gap, and a goal difference superior by 14.