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Liverpool to the fore as they close in on Champions League

No excuses from Silva as Hull head straight back down

Image Credit: Reuters
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring their second goal
Gulf News

London: Liverpool kept their top-four destiny in their own hands as Philippe Coutinho’s double earned them a 4-0 Premier League victory at West Ham United on Sunday that moved them back above Manchester City into third place.

Arsenal’s late surge had put Jurgen Klopp’s side under immense pressure but they responded in style and will definitely finish in the top-four if they beat relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield on the final day of the season next Sunday.

Anything other than a victory at West Ham’s London Stadium would have left Liverpool relying on other results going their way but once Daniel Sturridge put them ahead in the 35th minute they were relatively comfortable.

Coutinho struck twice in the space of four minutes midway through the second half and Divock Origi rubbed salt into West Ham’s wounds as the visitors ran riot.

Liverpool have 73 points with one match remaining, one ahead of Man City and four more than Arsenal who both have two games left to play.

At the other end of the table, however, Marco Silva admitted Hull City had only themselves to blame after a 4-0 thrashing by Crystal Palace on Sunday saw them relegated from the Premier League.

Palace went into the relegation tussle at Selhurst Park needing one point to stay up and took the upper hand from the start with a goal inside three minutes from Wilfried Zaha.

Christian Benteke gave Palace a two-goal cushion before halftime when he headed home Jason Puncheon’s corner in the 34th minute for his 15th league goal.

Palace, with Luka Milivojevic adding an 85th-minute penalty and substitute Patrick van Aanholt completing the rout in stoppage time, climbed to 13th on 41 points leaving Hull in 18th with 34, four adrift of 17th-placed Swansea with one match remaining.

After taking charge at Hull in January, Silva coaxed an improvement in his lowly team’s performances, but it wasn’t enough to save them from the drop to the Championship.

The Tigers’ campaign has been marred by poor signings and boardroom turmoil that contributed to Steve Bruce quitting last year after he had led them to promotion.

Silva acknowledged Hull, who were woeful in a crucial loss to relegated Sunderland last weekend, hadn’t done enough to stay up.

“It is really sad for the club and our fans. We did our best to do something in the last four months, but the players need to understand why this happened and start to win next season,” he said.

“Our players knew this was a final, we prepared like that but gave a goal away at the start. Then it makes it difficult.

“We gave them what they wanted and they were comfortable. We did the same from set pieces.

“It is not a moment to look for excuses, what we felt in the last four or five games is that too many things have happened with our club.”

Despite arriving in England as a virtual unknown, Portuguese coach Silva has become a hot property due to his work in difficult circumstances at Hull.

The former Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos boss has already been linked with a close-season move to Premier League side Watford and he was coy when asked about his future after the Palace debacle at Selhurst Park.

“We will see about my future. We have to analyse with the board and chairman,” he said.

“I will give my opinion on what to do differently because it is clear to me.”

 

Fact Box

Premier League results on Sunday:

Crystal Palace 4 Hull 0

West Ham 0 Liverpool 4

Premier League table after West Ham Liverpool match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Chelsea 36 28 3 5 76 29 87 — champions

Tottenham 35 23 8 4 71 23 77

Liverpool 37 21 10 6 75 42 73

Man City 36 21 9 6 72 38 72

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Arsenal 36 21 6 9 72 43 69

Man Utd 35 17 14 4 51 27 65

Everton 37 17 10 10 61 41 61

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West Brom 36 12 9 15 41 46 45

Southampton 36 12 9 15 41 47 45

Bournemouth 37 12 9 16 54 66 45

Leicester 36 12 7 17 46 56 43

West Ham 37 11 9 17 45 63 42

Crystal Palace 37 12 5 20 50 61 41

Stoke 37 10 11 16 40 56 41

Burnley 37 11 7 19 38 53 40

Watford 36 11 7 18 37 59 40

Swansea 37 11 5 21 43 69 38

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Hull 37 9 7 21 36 73 34 — relegated

Middlesbrough 37 5 13 19 27 50 28 — relegated

Sunderland 36 6 6 24 28 62 24 — relegated

Note: top four qualify for Champions League; teams finishing fifth to seventh qualify for Europa League; bottom three relegated to Championship

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