Premier League - Liverpool send Burnley down

Eurosport - Sun, 25 Apr 16:55:00 2010

Burnley were relegated from the Premier League after Steven Gerrard netted a brace at Turf Moor to inspire Liverpool to an emphatic 4-0 win.

Steven Gerrard Liverpool Burnley - 0

Burnley dominated the first half, but Liverpool skipper Gerrard followed a fortunate deflected strike in the 52nd minute with a screamer seven minutes later.

Maxi Rodriguez applied a clinical finish three minutes later before Ryan Babel pounced in stoppage-time to inflict the final blow to the hosts' survival hopes and round off a comprehensive victory for the Reds.

Dirk Kuyt was an isolated figure in attack for Liverpool as Gerrard played deep with Alberto Aquilani and Javier Mascherano further back, and the forward became increasingly frustrated as the first half wore on.

Burnley had by far the two best chances of the opening period, but the hosts lacked the conviction necessary to capitalise on Rafael Benitez's side's uncertainty.

The first chance arrived when Steven Fletcher headed over the bar after the forward out-muscled Jamie Carragher to meet Martin Paterson's pinpoint cross in the 27th minute.

Gerrard was typically instrumental for the visitors, and the midfielder was denied a fierce volley from the edge of the Burnley box on the half hour as Jack Cork made a stunning block.

The Reds captain then played a slick one-two with Aquilani as he hurtled into the Burnley box, but his shot was tame and straight at Brian Jensen. Replays suggested that Tyrone Mears inadvertently handled the ball in the box as the move developed, but Liverpool's appeals were stifled.

A second clear-cut opportunity for the hosts to assume the lead was squandered by Cork: the midfielder ghosted into the Liverpool box unmarked, but headed straight at Pepe Reina from Wade Elliott's devilish delivery out on the right.

Kuyt sustained a knee injury just after half-time and the Dutchman was replaced by Yossi Benayoun as the Reds played the second half without a recognised centre-forward.

Liverpool had considerably more purpose and invention in the second half, and Gerrard took just seven minutes to make his mark: a neat one-two with Aquilani earned the midfielder space before his fierce drive took a vicious deflection off Leon Cort to wrong-foot the helpless Jensen.

If Gerrard's first strike was fortunate, his second was anything but: the England star raced into the Burnley half before unleashing a rasping strike to pick out the bottom corner of Jensen's goal from 25 yards.

The hosts were relatively subdued as Liverpool continued to surge forward from midfield, but Fletcher almost hauled his side back into the contest with a neat turn to beat Carragher and low volley which cannoned off Reina's far post and away to safety in the 71st minute.

Liverpool were undeterred and three minutes later Aquilani slid a precise through-ball into the path of the onrushing Maxi and the Argentine slammed a low shot beyond Jensen into the far corner.

The home fans refused to stream out of the exits as their side battled valiantly on, but Liverpool's victory was given an even more emphatic complexion as Babel beat the offside trap in stoppage-time to score past Jensen and make it four.

The final whistle brought an end to Burnley's brief stint in the top flight. The Clarets join Portsmouth in the Championship for next season, while Liverpool are now within a point of Manchester City in sixth spot.

Dan Quarrell / Eurosport

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