Liverpool beat Crystal Palace at Anfield to salvage Champions League qualification from a chaotic season undermined by serious injuries and a catastrophic run of home form after the turn of the year.
Jurgen Klopp’s side never threatened to retain their Premier League title and fell timidly to Real Madrid in the Champions League but Liverpool rallied to win their final five Premier League games – including a remarkable last-gasp header by keeper Alisson at West Bromwich Albion – to claim a prize that looked unlikely since the turn of the year.
Liverpool were initially nervous but got the result they needed against Palace – who had Roy Hodgson taking charge for the final time – thanks to two goals from Sadio Mane.
The Senegal forward poked home from a corner nine minutes before half-time to ease the early anxieties and wrapped up victory and a coveted Champions League place with a deflected shot in the 74th minute.
Andros Townsend gave Liverpool, playing in front of 10,000 returning supporters, an early scare when he raced clear only to shoot off target before the home side took control – with Leicester and Chelsea’s defeats meaning they finished in a creditable third given their injury problems.