LONDON: Liverpool are on the brink of qualifying for the Champions League after Philippe Coutinho inspired a 4-0 rout of West Ham, while Tottenham Hotspur said a fitting farewell to White Hart Lane with a 2-1 win against Manchester United on Sunday.
In contrast to Liverpool’s jubilation and Tottenham’s celebratory send-off, there was only misery for Hull as they were relegated after a 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace.
It was a day of high emotion as the Premier League’s remaining issues at the top and bottom were played out in dramatic fashion.
At the London Stadium, Liverpool took the lead when Coutinho’s sublime pass was converted by Daniel Sturridge early in the first half.
Coutinho stole the spotlight again in the second half with a superb solo strike and a cool finish to put Jurgen Klopp’s side three goals ahead before Divock Origi netted to cap the Reds’ swaggering display.
Liverpool moved to 73 points, one above Manchester City into third place.
Although City and fifth-placed Arsenal both have a game in hand, Klopp’s men will be guaranteed a Champions League berth if they beat relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield next Sunday.
In the unlikely event Arsenal, who produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Stoke City 4-1 on Saturday thanks to Olivier Giroud’s brace and goals Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, lose at home to relegated Sunderland on Tuesday then Liverpool will clinch a top four spot without playing.
“At the end it was amazing but the start was not that good,” Klopp said. “After that we controlled the game and took our chances. We scored some really nice goals.”
Tottenham fans flooded onto the field after their victory over United in the final game at White Hart Lane secured second place and the team’s highest finish in 54 years.
Chelsea were crowned champions after their win at West Bromwich Albion on Friday, but Tottenham had the ideal occasion to forget that frustration as they prepare to temporarily play at Wembley while the Lane is demolished to make way for a new arena.
The final goal at the 118-year stadium came from United captain Wayne Rooney but Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane had already scored to ensure it was a joyful send-off by the hosts.
For United, the loss left Jose Mourinho’s side relying on winning the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League.
Down in south London, Hull knew only a victory would give them a realistic chance of staying up, but goals from Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt consigned them to the drop.
Third-bottom Hull, winners just once in their last six matches, return to the Championship 12 months after their promotion via the play-offs.
They paid the price for a chaotic campaign marred by poor signings and boardroom turmoil.
Marco Silva was unable to save them despite improved performances following his January appointment and he said: “You need to prepare better. The most important thing is for the club to understand what they did in a bad way. You start to win or lose a season ahead one year in advance.”
Palace had needed a point to stay up and their dominant display completed boss Sam Allardyce’s latest survival mission after he rescued Sunderland last season.
“I said to myself this would be the hardest one, given the quality of the teams we had to play on the run-in,” Allardyce said. “Building for the future relieves the stress on you. I wouldn’t want to keep fighting relegation at the end of every season.”