Chelsea Beat Liverpool to Keep Champions League Race Alive
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Chelsea Beat Liverpool to Keep Champions League Race Alive

The race for the top four in the Premier League will go down to the wire after Chelsea defeated Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur suffered a surprise defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

Liverpool have a Champions League final showdown with Real Madrid to prepare for, but after suffering defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge via a goal from Olivier Giroud, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will have to give their full attention to their final home game of the season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion next Sunday.

“Now we have a final next Sunday, so that’s how life is,” Reds boss Klopp told the club’s official website. “We play the last game at home, Chelsea plays at Newcastle, so that’s not a holiday trip.

“That’s the situation.”

Give their superior goal difference, a win at home to Brighton should be enough to secure the Reds a place in the top four.

Chelsea’s win over the Reds was their fourth on the spin in the Premier League and has them breathing down the necks of Liverpool and Tottenham.

Tottenham’s defeat at West Brom, which came courtesy of Jake Livermore’s 90th-minute strike, was the surprise result of the weekend and it leaves Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs just two points clear of Chelsea.

Spurs’ two remaining games are home encounters with Newcastle United and Leicester City, two sides who are safe and have little to play for, so the North Londonders’ bid for Champions League qualification is in their own hands.

Tottenham should get the job done, but they have wobbled at an inopportune time – they’ve won just one of the last five games in all competitions, and although Newcastle and Leicester have little to play for, both are well capable of causing a shock if Spurs are off form.

Livermore’s goal kept West Brom above water and means they go into the final week of the season with a chance of staying up.

That could be snuffed out if Southampton or Swansea City win when they face each other on Monday night. But should that game end in a draw, the Baggies’ hopes of the great escape will go to the wire.

Stoke City became the first team to be relegated when they suffered a home defeat to Crystal Palace.

Paul Lambert was parachuted in by Stoke in January, but he failed to turn the tide and the Potters will now have to prepare for life in the Championship. Relegation ends a 10-year run in the Premier League for Stoke and it will be a tough road back, given how competitive the second tier of English football has become in recent seasons.

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