Sports

EPL: Liverpool move into top four after hard-fought Burnley win

*Villa dent Spurs’ European hopes
*Wins for Arsenal, Newcastle, Everton, West Ham

Liverpool took a huge step towards claiming one of the two remaining top-four spots with one round of Premier League games to go courtesy of a hard-fought victory at Burnley.
Liverpool’s incredible late win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday kept their Champions League hopes alive and they took full advantage on Wednesday through a cool finish from Roberto Firmino, a first club goal for Nathaniel Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s late lashed effort.
The Reds are now in the fourth Champions League spot, level on points with fifth-placed Leicester City and with a goal difference four better than the Foxes.
Brazil striker Firmino added to the brace he scored at Manchester United six days ago with a neat side-foot finish from Andy Robertson’s pull-back to the penalty spot.
Centre-back Phillips then headed in from Sadio Mane’s cross early in the second half to give Liverpool a cushion.
Substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed the win in injury time, smashing home a shot after a neat turn to evade Charlie Taylor.
Three goals was, in truth, a poor return from a game packed with excellent opportunities for both sides.
Chris Wood was a menace throughout and should have netted with a shot from close range while Mohamed Salah and especially Thiago Alcantara – who dragged an angled shot wide of the far post – were culpable for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side host Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the Foxes at home to Tottenham and Chelsea, who are a point better off than both, at Aston Villa.
At the Hawthorns, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio scored late goals as West Ham beat West Bromwich Albion to boost their hopes of playing European football for next season.
Matheus Pereira had put the Baggies ahead when his delivery from a corner went straight into the net.
But Tomas Soucek equalised on the stroke of half-time when he stabbed in from Said Benrahma’s cross.
And Ogbonna headed home from a corner late on before Antonio swept in.
Victory means West Ham are sixth, three points ahead of Tottenham and Everton heading into the final round of games.
The Hammers host Southampton in their Premier League finale on Sunday while Tottenham are at fifth-placed Leicester and Everton travel to champions Manchester City.
A Europa League group stage place will go to the teams who finish fifth and sixth, while the side finishing seventh go into the play-off round for the new Europa Conference League.
And Tottenham’s hopes of securing European football were dented as Aston Villa came from behind to claim a deserved Premier League victory in front of 10,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
As speculation increases about Harry Kane’s future before the summer transfer window, chants of “He’s one of our own” were sung by the returning home fans, who were welcomed back by Steven Bergwijn’s thumping eighth-minute opener after he had stolen possession from Marvellous Nakamba, reports the BBC.
Villa’s response warranted an equaliser and it was Sergio Reguilon who delivered it as the Spurs left-back sliced Nakamba’s cross into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal.
Ollie Watkins completed the turnaround before half-time, collecting Reguilon’s weak clearance and holding off the challenge of Eric Dier before finding the bottom corner to continue his fine first season in the top flight.
Watkins was thwarted by Lloris either side of half-time, and although Spurs did test Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez more regularly following the restart through Bergwijn and Kane, they failed to find an equaliser.
Spurs – booed at the final whistle as fans stayed long after full-time to protest – remain in sixth, level on points with both West Ham United – who face West Bromwich Albion later – and Everton going into Sunday’s final round of fixtures.
At Selhurst Park, Arsenal scored twice in injury time to stun Crystal Palace and mean Roy Hodgson’s last home game in charge of the Eagles ended in disappointment.
Veteran manager Hodgson, 73, announced on Tuesday he will be leaving the club at the end of the season after four years in the job and was given a heart-felt reception from the returning home supporters.
But his farewell match at Selhurst Park ended in a last-gasp defeat as Gabriel Martinelli latched onto fellow substitute Martin Odegaard’s cross to convert from close range on 91 minutes before Nicolas Pepe coolly rolled in Arsenal’s third four minutes later.
Christian Benteke’s diving header from Andros Townsend’s free-kick levelled for the home side after Pepe had volleyed in to finish off a neat Arsenal move.
Palace can move up a place to 12th on the final day if they better Wolves’ result against Manchester United, while Arsenal kept alive their hopes of a top-six finish.
And at Goodison Park, Everton kept alive their hopes of playing European football next season as Richarlison’s header gave the Toffees victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in front of their own fans at Goodison Park.
After a goalless first half, Richarlison rose highest to power home a header early in the second half.
The Brazilian had been the home side’s most dangerous player, having forced a good save out of John Ruddy in the first half before firing wide from close range.
Adama Traore went closest to scoring for Wolves but his powerful first-half drive was tipped over superbly by Jordan Pickford.
The Everton goalkeeper had also done well to keep out a Morgan Gibbs-White volley as the visitors had the better of the opening 45 minutes.
But that was as close as Wolves got as Everton instead finished the game strongest with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison going close to adding to the scoreline.
The victory ensured the Toffees finished a disappointing home campaign on a high and means they go into the final round of Premier League fixtures this weekend with a chance of a top-seven finish.
Meanwhile, Joe Willock scored for the sixth successive game as Newcastle United welcomed 10,000 fans back to St James’ Park by beating relegated Sheffield United.
The 21-year-old on-loan Arsenal midfielder headed home Jacob Murphy’s cross in front of the Gallowgate End to become the youngest-ever player to net in six straight Premier League games.
Willock’s strike ensured a relatively serene reunion with supporters for Magpies boss Steve Bruce – who has come under criticism from a section of fans – although there were a few smatterings of disquiet.
RESULTS
Everton 1 – 0 Wolves
Newcastle 1 – 0 Sheff Utd
Tottenham 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Crystal Palace 1 – 3 Arsenal
Burnley 0 – 3 Liverpool
West Brom 1 – 3 West Ham

 

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