Defeat in Gerrard’s final match at Anfield
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) – Manchester United’s return to the Champions League was sealed by a defeat for Liverpool in Steven Gerrard’s final game at Anfield, while the fight to avoid relegation from the English Premier League football competition was reduced to three teams with one round remaining.
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace on an emotionally charged evening for Gerrard, to end their slim hopes of finishing in the top four. Instead, United will be the league’s fourth representative in Europe’s top competition next season alongside Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal.
Aston Villa and Leicester secured their top-flight status for another season, leaving Hull, Newcastle and Sunderland in a three-way scrap to stay up.
Hull are favourites to join Queens Park Rangers and Burnley in going down after losing 2-0 at Tottenham to stay third from bottom. Newcastle remained two points above Hull after a 2-1 loss at QPR, and Sunderland are a point further ahead following their 0-0 draw with Leicester.
Hull need to win their last match, at home to Man United, to stand a chance of staying up.
Also, Sadio Mane scored the fastest hat trick in Premier League history, netting three times in 2 minutes, 56 seconds for Southampton in a 6-1 win over Villa. Everton beat West Ham 2-1, and Stoke drew 0-0 with Burnley.
Gerrard played 90 minutes in his 354th and final appearance at Anfield, but couldn’t conjure up one last moment of brilliance at a stadium he has illuminated so many times down the years.
He thanked Liverpool’s fans for their support in an emotional speech, by which time his club had failed in their bid to qualify for the Champions League for a second straight season.