Liverpool booked their place in next season’s Champions League in what turned out to be relatively comfortable circumstances, ultimately finishing third after a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
It was an unsurprisingly nervous start from the dethroned champions, and they were lucky not to go behind early on as Andros Townsend capitalised on a loose ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold, raced in behind the Liverpool defence, only for the former England international to drag his shot wide.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Liverpool would squander some very presentable chances, Rhys Williams finding himself unmarked at a corner only to send his header over the bar, while Golden Boot chasing Mohamed Salah saw an effort saved by Vicente Guaita.
With Leicester leading 1-0 in their game against Spurs, it was Liverpool who were sitting outside the top four, but they would take the lead to move themselves above the Foxes in the 36th minute. A corner from the left was flicked on by Williams, the ball coming off Roberto Firmino before being tucked home at the back post by Sadio Mane.
Liverpool controlled the game after the break, and would double their lead with 16 minutes to play. Jurgen Klopp’s side played their way out from the back before releasing Salah down the right. The Egyptian played a one-two with Gini Wijnaldum on the edge of the box before unselfishly squaring it to Mane, the scorer of the first doubling his tally as his left-footed effort took a deflection off Gary Cahill to make it 2-0.
Despite their awful form at the turn of the year – particularly at Anfield – the result ensured Liverpool would finish the campaign in third place, Chelsea and Leicester both ultimately losing in their games against Spurs and Aston Villa respectively.
Speaking afterwards, Jurgen Klopp said he didn’t concern himself with the results away from Anfield, while praising his side’s return to form, Liverpool finishing the campaign with eight wins in their last 10 games.
“Perfect. It was windy like crazy. It’s not good for football,” he told Sky Sports.
“We found a way into the game, scored a great goal. Do you take more risk, or control even more? The second goal was so helpful. I didn’t know about other matches.
“I’m so proud of what they’ve done the last 10 or 15 games and the reaction of the team in bad times. Eight wins out of 10, two draws, that’s impressive.
“Energy makes all the difference and we got a lot of energy from outside (the fans).
“It was not our year for the championship. I’m really happy with third place.”
The German was asked to pick which was the lowest moment of his side’s season: “I don’t want to pick one,” he said. “It will be unfair to all the other sh*t moments.
“I have a holiday – it feels like the season was two years long. In three weeks I can’t wait for the pre-season again.”
See also – Premier League end of season awards 2020/21