Sheff Utd cruise past Chelsea, Liverpool’s record bid hit by Burnley

Chelsea players leave the field at the end of the match against Sheffield United in Sheffield on Saturday. (AP pic)

LONDON: Sheffield United dealt a major blow to Chelsea’s chances of a Premier League top-four finish by thrashing the Blues 3-0 at Bramall Lane, while Liverpool’s long winning run at Anfield came to an end in a 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

Manchester City did guarantee their presence in the top four for a 10th successive season with Raheem Sterling scoring a hattrick in a 5-0 win at Brighton.

However, they will have to wait for the outcome on Monday of their appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions to see if they will play Champions League football.

Norwich will be playing in the Championship after Michail Antonio’s four-goal blitz confirmed the Canaries’ relegation in a thumping 4-0 win for West Ham that should seal the Hammers’ top-flight status for another season.

Sheffield United have long since achieved that feat in their first season in the Premier League for 13 years and the Blades are still eying the top four themselves as they moved within five points of fourth-placed Leicester.

Chelsea remain in third, but could end the weekend down in fifth if Leicester and Manchester United beat Bournemouth and Southampton respectively.

The Blues have already reinforced their attack for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, but Frank Lampard was again shown it is at the other end his side desperately need to improve.

David McGoldrick’s long wait for a first Premier League goal came to an end when he was quickest to react after Kepa Arrizabalaga saved Oli McBurnie’s deflected shot.

More slack defending from the visitors then allowed McBurnie a free header to double the hosts’ lead.

Lampard sent on Antonio Rudiger at the start of the second half, but the German international did little to improve Chelsea’s defending as his attempted clearance from Lys Mousset’s cross only teed up McGoldrick to score his second 13 minutes from time.

“They were better than us, physically, in the mind and with the ball. So you lose the game,” said Lampard.

Liverpool held

For the first time since January 2018, Liverpool failed to win a Premier League game at Anfield as an inspired performance by Nick Pope in the Burnley goal and Jay Rodriguez’s equaliser to cancel out Andy Robertson’s first half header gave Burnley a share of the spoils.

Jurgen Klopp’s men now need to win their remaining three games to surpass the record total of 100 points in a Premier League season set by City two years ago.

“We left the door open, we didn’t close it. We should have scored two, three, four goals at least,” said Klopp.

City scored four or more goals for the fourth time in six league games at Brighton.

Sterling’s treble took his best ever season’s tally to 27, while Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva also netted in another rout for a pleased Pep Guardiola.

Norwich relegated

At Carrow Road, a seventh successive league defeat condemned Norwich to relegation as Antonio’s ruthless display boosted West Ham’s own survival bid.

“We wanted to beat the odds again but when the dust settles the outcome is more or less what was expected. It doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we are disappointed,” manager Daniel Farke said.

West Ham’s second win in four games opens up a six-point cushion over the bottom three.

The early signs were ominous for Norwich as West Ham took the lead in the 11th minute through Antonio’s close-range volley.

Antonio struck again in first half stoppage-time, glancing his header into the far corner from Mark Noble’s freekick.

He completed his hattrick in the 54th minute with a looping header and his fourth came in the 74th minute from Ryan Fredericks’ cross.

Watford also moved to the brink of survival as two Troy Deeney penalties beat Newcastle 2-1 to move level with West Ham on 34 points.