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Reds strike late to go back on top, nine-man Spurs lose at Cherries

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Liverpool’s Belgian striker Divock Origi jumps to head home their third goal during the English Premier League match against Newcastle United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on Saturday. Lindsey PARNABY/afp

Reds strike late to go back on top, nine-man Spurs lose at Cherries

DIVOCK Origi headed Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League despite losing Mohamed Salah to a head injury in a thrilling 3-2 win at Newcastle, while nine-man Tottenham lost once more on the road 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday.

At the other end of the table, Cardiff were relegated after their 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace.

Liverpool’s thrilling title battle with Manchester City is now guaranteed to go down to the final day of the season as Jurgen Klopp’s men moved two points ahead once more at the top.

City have a game in hand, at home to Leicester on Monday, but Liverpool refuse to give up in their pursuit of a first title for 29 years.

“If we are champions then we are champions, you can’t feel pressure when you do your best,” said Klopp.

“94 points is incredible. Today was a battle of will but it was a victory of passion, heart and absolute desire – absolutely brilliant.”

Virgil van Dijk headed the visitors into an early lead at St. James’ Park, but Liverpool were fortunate when Newcastle levelled through Christian Atsu.

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold had handled Salomon Rondon’s effort on the goal line and could have conceded a penalty and been sent-off after just 20 minutes had Atsu not put home the rebound.

Alexander-Arnold was the creator as Klopp’s men quickly retook the lead through Salah.

However, Rondon levelled once more for Newcastle early in the second half.

Salah then had to be stretchered off with a head injury after clashing with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, which will make him a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, second leg against Barcelona.

Yet, despite also missing Roberto Firmino through injury, Liverpool found a response four minutes from time when Origi flicked home Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick.

“You feel the emotion. It’s a very special season for everyone,” said Origi. “But as a player you have to channel that feeling into the performance and in the end it worked out.”

Spurs slip up again

Tottenham also have a 1-0 Champions League semi-final deficit to overturn against Ajax on Wednesday, but still have work to do to qualify for the competition next season after a sixth straight away league defeat.

Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth were sent-off either side of half-time.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked like they would hold on for a point as the match entered stoppage-time, but Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake ended third-placed Tottenham’s stubborn resistance to delay their attempt to guarantee a place in the top four.

“We need to move on. We have ahead two finals,” said Pochettino.

“It is in our hands. If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.”

Cardiff needed a win to have a realistic chance of beating the drop on the last day of the season, but they were out-classed by Palace in south Wales.

Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead in the 28th minute before Martin Kelly’s own goal three minutes later gave Cardiff hope.

Michy Batshuayi restored Palace’s lead in the 40th minute and Andros Townsend made it three after 70 minutes, with Bobby Reid’s 90th minute goal little consolation for Cardiff.

“They’ve tried hard. We’ve shown limitations today and that’s why we are where we are,” said Cardiff boss Neil Warnock.

In their first season back in the top-flight, Wolves moved a step closer to sealing an impressive seventh place finish as Leander Dendoncker clinched a 1-0 win over relegated Fulham.

If Manchester City win the FA Cup final against Watford later on May 18, the team which finishes seventh will go into the Europa League qualifying rounds next season.

Marko Arnautovic ended his 11-game goal drought with a brace in West Ham’s 3-0 win against Southampton at the London Stadium.

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