Premier League: Roberto Firmino swansong not enough for Liverpool’s top-four hopes | Football News

LIVERPOOL: Roberto Firmino maintained Liverpool’s bid for Champions League football next season hung by a thread as the Brazilian bid farewell to Anfield with a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday.
The Brazilian netted his 110th goal for Liverpool a minute from the end of his last home game for the club.
But a point didn’t do much for the Reds’ slim chances of hunting down Newcastle and Manchester United for a top-four spot as they now need just one point from their two remaining games to guarantee Champions League football.
A point also increases Villa’s chances of returning to Europe for the first time since 2010.
Unai Emery’s move is a point clear of Tottenham in seventh with a win over Brighton in their last game next weekend good enough to secure at least Europa Conference League football next season .
A seven-game winning streak had maintained Liverpool’s chances of reaching the Champions League.
But that race had masked a desperately poor campaign of Jurgen Kloppwho came close to an unprecedented quadruple of trophies last season.
This time around there probably won’t even be the consolation of a top-four finish for a trophyless season, which could impact Klopp’s budget in the transfer market for a summer rebuild.
It could have been worse for the hosts as Villa missed a first-half penalty shot by Ollie Watkins.
The England international won the kick by edging out Ibrahima Konate and was knocked down by the Frenchman.
But Watkins’ poor penalty record continued as he slipped away to miss for the fifth time in nine attempts in his career.
Villa didn’t have to wait long for the opener as Jacob Ramsey’s cool finish at the far post allowed Douglas Luiz to cross in the 27th minute.
Klopp was serving the former of a two-match sideline ban after questioning the integrity of referee Paul Tierney following his side’s victory over Tottenham last month.
The German’s presence was missed in a lackluster performance, but Klopp could have found himself in further trouble had he been on the touchline as two major decisions went his way.
First, Tyrone Mings survived a VAR check for a red card for a high challenge which left nail marks on Cody Gakpo’s chest.
Gakpo then had the ball in the net on the hour mark after a goal rush.
But after another lengthy VAR review, referee John Brooks ruled that Virgil van Dijk’s role in setting up an offside position was in the same phase of play and the goal was ruled out.
Firmino was introduced from the bench at 20 minutes an hour and all that was missing from a fairy tale finish was a Liverpool winner after bringing home Mohamed Salah’s cross.
But Villa held on for over 10 minutes of stoppage time to leave Newcastle and Manchester United with the champagne on the ice.
Newcastle can clinch Champions League football for the first time in 20 years by hosting Leicester on Monday.

United have two home games against Chelsea and Fulham to get the job done in Erik ten Hag’s debut season.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl