by Steven GRIFFITHS
In contrast to Liverpool’s jubilation and Tottenham’s celebratory send-off, there was only misery for Hull as they were relegated after a 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace.
It was a day of high emotion as the Premier League’s remaining issues at the top and bottom were played out in dramatic fashion.
At the London Stadium, Liverpool took the lead when Coutinho’s sublime pass was converted by Daniel Sturridge early in the first half.
Coutinho stole the spotlight again in the second half with a superb solo strike and a cool finish to put Jurgen Klopp’s side three goals ahead before Divock Origi netted to cap the Reds’ swaggering display.
Liverpool moved back one point above Manchester City into third place.
Although City and fifth placed Arsenal both have a game in hand, Klopp’s men will be guaranteed a Champions League berth if they beat relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield next Sunday.
In the unlikely event Arsenal lose at home to relegated Sunderland on Tuesday then Liverpool will clinch a top four spot without playing.
“At the end it was amazing but the start was not that good,” Klopp said.
“After that we controlled the game and took our chances. We scored some really nice goals.”
Playing their last game at White Hart Lane after 118 years, second placed Tottenham responded to the end of their title dreams by stylishly bringing down the curtain on 118 years at the famous north London stadium.
Chelsea were crowned champions after their win at West Bromwich Albion on Friday, but Tottenham had the ideal occasion to forget that frustration as they prepare to temporarily play at Wembley while the Lane is demolished to make way for a new arena.
– Chaotic –
With numerous Tottenham legends watching from the stands, Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama put the hosts ahead in the sixth minute.
Harry Kane doubled Tottenham’s lead in the 48th minute with his 28th goal of the season.
United’s Wayne Rooney who had the distinction of scoring the last goal at the Lane with a close-range finish in the 71st minute.
Down in south London, Hull knew only a victory would give them a realistic chance of staying up, but goals from Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt consigned them to the drop.
Third-bottom Hull, winners just once in their last six matches, return to the Championship 12 months after their promotion via the play-offs.
They paid the price for a chaotic campaign marred by poor signings and boardroom turmoil.
Marco Silva was unable to save them despite improved performances following his January appointment and he said: “You need to prepare better. The most important thing is for the club to understand what they did in a bad way.
“You start to win or lose a season ahead one year in advance.”
Palace had needed a point to stay up and their dominant display completed boss Sam Allardyce’s latest survival mission after he rescued Sunderland last season.
“I said to myself this would be the hardest one, given the quality of the teams we had to play on the run-in,” Allardyce said.
“Building for the future relieves the stress on you. I wouldn’t want to keep fighting relegation at the end of every season.”