Liverpool's Premier League title hopes suffer big blow; Brighton thrash Man United 4-0

Man City can retake top spot and open up a three-point lead when they host Newcastle on Sunday


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Liverpool's Thiago (right) and Kostas Tsimikas clear the ball during the Premier League  match against Tottenham. (AP)
Liverpool's Thiago (right) and Kostas Tsimikas clear the ball during the Premier League match against Tottenham. (AP)

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 1:17 AM

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes suffered a huge blow even though they went top of the table as Tottenham clung on for a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds edged ahead of Manchester City on goal difference, but the English champions can now afford to draw one of their remaining four games and still retain their title.

Pep Guardiola’s men can retake top spot and open up a three-point lead when they host Newcastle on Sunday.

A share of the spoils took Tottenham to within a point of fourth-placed Arsenal, but their chance of a top-four finish now also rely on the Gunners dropping points in two of their final four games.

Son Heung-min rounded off a brilliant team move to put Spurs in front on 56 minutes.

Luis Diaz’s deflected shot levelled 16 minutes from time, but Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to find a winner.

Twenty-one points separate the sides, but Spurs have made a habit of saving their best for the big occasion.

Antonio Conte’s men are unbeaten in all four meetings with City and Liverpool this season.

United humiliated, Watford relegated

Manchester United crashed to a dismal 4-0 defeat at Brighton that ended their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four, while Chelsea blew a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Wolves in front of prospective owner Todd Boehly on Saturday.

At the other end of the table, Watford were relegated after a 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace.

United have endured a host of humiliations in one of their most embarrassing seasons for decades and this lacklustre loss was among the very worst.

Ralf Rangnick’s side were routed by goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard at the Amex Stadium.

After 5-0 and 4-0 defeats against arch rivals Liverpool, a 4-1 loss at Watford that led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking in November and an FA Cup at home to Championship side Middlesbrough, it seemed impossible for United to fall any further.

But they were so gutless and hopeless on the south-coast that even United’s travelling supporters turned on them.

Sixth-placed United are certain to miss the Champions League for only the fifth time in 30 seasons.

With 58 points and only one game left, United’s fifth successive away defeat means they will finish with their lowest points total in the Premier League era.

It was a day of mixed emotions at Stamford Bridge.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly and his consortium have won the battle to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich in a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) deal.

Boehly’s consortium still need to satisfy the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test and gain approval from the UK government, but Chelsea expect the sale to be completed by the end of the month.

After the protracted sale sparked fears for Chelsea’s future, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel welcomed the takeover, saying: “It gives us an outlook, if terms are agreed and hopefully the process will be streamlined and go forward as soon as possible. Good news.”

But Tuchel’s third-placed team were unable to celebrate the deal with a victory as they squandered an opportunity to move closer to qualifying for the Champions League.

Romelu Lukaku, who has endured a wretched season following his £97 million club record move from Inter Milan, converted a VAR-awarded penalty after he was fouled by Romain Saiss in the 56th minute.

The Chelsea striker followed his first Premier League goal since December 29 with another two minutes later.

This time he produced a fine 20-yard finish from Christian Pulisic’s cross as Boehly rose from his seat to celebrate.

But Wolves forward Francisco Trincao set up a tense finish when he hammered home from the edge of the area in the 79th minute.

Chelsea cracked deep into stoppage time as Conor Coady nodded a close-range equaliser to leave Boehly shaking his head in frustration..

At Selhurst Park, Watford needed a win to keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding the drop, but Wilfried Zaha’s 31st minute penalty was enough to condemn them to relegation.

With three games still to play, second-bottom Watford are certain to drop into the Championship 12 months after winning promotion as second-tier runners-up.

The Hornets will head into the close-season looking for a new boss after manager Roy Hodgson confirmed he would not be extending his short-term contract.

“I have never sat and given a press conference in charge of a top-flight team that has been relegated. It is a first for me and it is a first I wasn’t looking forward to claiming,” Hodgson said.

Burnley wasted a chance to boost their survival chances as Aston Villa cruised to a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.

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