Steven Gerrard's brace consigned Burnley to relegation
By Nabil Hassan
Steven Gerrard's second-half brace and further goals from Maxi Rodriguez and Ryan Babel relegated Burnley and kept Liverpool's top-four hopes alive.
Gerrard's first deflected off Burnley defender Leon Cort past Brian Jensen but his second was a fine first-time curling strike from 25-yards out.
Steven Fletcher later hit the post for Burnley with a left-footed half-volley.
Rodriguez fired home from 12-yards after Alberto Aquilani's pass and Ryan Babel beat Jensen when one on one.
The win left Burnley on 27 points, seven points behind West Ham with two matches left to play, while Liverpool remain in seventh but close the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to two points, though having played a game more.
The victory was Liverpool's first away from Anfield in the league this year and could yet help them seal Champions League football for next season.
With Tottenham losing to Manchester United and Manchester City drawing with Arsenal on Saturday, Liverpool knew they had a great opportunity to close the gap on the teams above them.
Burnley's task was more simple, anything other than a victory would consign them to relegation after just one season in the Premier League.
Liverpool enjoyed the majority of the early possession, but despite a string of Gerrard corners they failed to create one decent chance, with Babel's screwed shot from 20-yards the only real effort of note.
Too often they gave the ball away, more through their own carelessness than Burnley pressure, leading to a disjointed and scrappy game which suited the Clarets.
Laws looks to bounce back from relegation
It took half an hour for the first shot on target and it came from Liverpool's talisman, Gerrard.
Having burst into the box the ball found his path but after a neat swivel and strike from 12-yards, his half half-volley was comfortably saved by Jensen.
Burnley were full of endeavour with Fletcher heading Martin Paterson's right-wing cross from close range over the bar.
More home pressure followed and just before the break an unmarked Jack Cork, on-loan from Chelsea, should have done better when heading Tyrone Mears' right-wing cross straight at Pepe Reina who made a low save.
At the other end, Babel side footed tamely at Jensen when he found himself unmarked at the back post having broken the offside trap.
Liverpool were forced into an early change just after the break with striker Dirk Kuyt, who had been a solitary figure up front, was replaced by Yossi Benayoun.
Soon after, Mears' 20-yard free-kick was well saved by Reina as Burnley's attempts to break the deadlock gained momentum.
But it was Liverpool who got the first goal of the game and, unsurprisingly, it came from Gerrard.
Liverpool's captain played a neat one-two with Benayoun and having cut inside his man he unleashed a right-footed strike from 20-yards which took a huge deflection off Cort before flying past the wrong-footed Jensen and into the corner of the net.
Moments later Gerrard doubled Liverpool's lead with a sublime strike as Burnley's task became that much harder.
Gerrard latched on to Aquilani's knockdown and unleashed a fierce first-time right-footed curling shot from 25-yards which flew into the left-hand corner of Jensen's goal.
Benitez still chasing fourth spot
Soon after, Nugent tested Reina but his low shot was too tame to beat the Liverpool keeper.
Fletcher's neat turn and shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Reina while at the other end Rodriguez forced a decent stop from Jensen at the foot of his near post.
Fletcher was back in the action again and after controlling a long ball on his chest he was unlucky to see his 12-yard half-volley fly past Reina but bounce back off the post.
Burnley continued to press but Liverpool were that much more clinical and Aquilani's pass superbly opened up the Burnley defence for Maxi to fire right-footed across Jensen into the far corner of the net from 12-yards for 3-0.
And late on there was time for one more with substitute Lucas playing in Babel who beat the offside trap and found himself one on one with Jensen and the Dutchman made no mistake in firing past the Burnley keeper to seal the victory and Burnley's relegation.
Burnley boss Brian Laws:
"West Brom have done the same as we did - they didn't throw money at it. There has been a lot of mis-management in the Premier League and a lot of teams have under-achieved because of it.
"The chairman and the board have made the right decision to say we're not going to throw money at it. We have the lowest budget by a mile. Everybody said it was an impossible task to survive in the Premiership with a budget that low but we nearly did the impossible.
"We'll take stock and hopefully do a West Brom and bounce back, we'll be stronger for it and the financial side will cater for that and allow us to be one of the stronger sides in the Championship.
"I'll here next season and I'm looking forward to the fight, I'm certainly looking forward to bouncing back as well."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"We needed to improve, and to win, keep a clean sheet, score four goals and play well, especially in the second half I'm really pleased with the performance of the team.
"They were pushing and pressing at the end of the first half as soon as they conceded the first goal they needed to go forward they were open then we had more space and more time to play.
"Stevie needed to score, it was good for him and the team, Maxi scored the kind of goal he is capable of.
"I needed to change some players use players with fresh legs and it made a big difference. I think we have our chances of fourth place so we will try."
90:00+5:09 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
90:00+3:16 Assist by Leiva Lucas.
90:00+3:16 GOAL - Ryan Babel:Burnley 0 - 4 Liverpool Ryan Babel finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal. Burnley 0-4 Liverpool.
90:00+2:32 The ball is delivered by Daniel Pacheco, clearance made by Leon Cort.
90:00+1:42 The ball is sent over by Chris Eagles, Daniel Ayala makes a clearance.
89:37 Chris Eagles produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
88:13 Chris Eagles delivers the ball, Steven Thompson produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.
87:44 Glen Johnson challenges Tyrone Mears unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Chris
Eagles, Alberto Aquilani manages to make a clearance.
85:40 Steven Thompson challenges Javier Mascherano unfairly and gives away a free kick. Javier Mascherano takes the free kick.
85:11 Effort from outside the penalty box by Ryan Babel goes wide right of the goal.
83:54 The ball is sent over by Chris Eagles.
82:14 Wade Elliott fouled by Ryan Babel, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Duff restarts play with the free kick.
81:23 Substitution Daniel Pacheco joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Gerrard.
81:00 The ball is delivered by Chris Eagles, Javier Mascherano manages to make a clearance.
80:41 Corner taken by Chris Eagles, save by Jose Reina.
79:19 Tyrone Mears is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the direct free kick.
77:52 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Steven Gerrard, comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
77:52 Booking Michael Duff receives a yellow card.
Correction - 77:36 Unfair challenge on Alberto Aquilani by Michael Duff results in a free kick.
77:36 Alberto Aquilani fouled by Michael Duff, the ref awards a free kick.
77:03 Substitution Leiva Lucas is brought on as a substitute for Daniel Agger.
76:33 Substitution Steven Thompson on for David Nugent.
76:23 The ball is delivered by Wade Elliott.
74:42 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alberto Aquilani on Wade Elliott. Tyrone Mears takes the direct free kick.
73:12 Assist on the goal came from Alberto Aquilani.
73:12 GOAL - Rodriguez Maxi:Burnley 0 - 3 Liverpool Rodriguez Maxi scores a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Burnley 0-3 Liverpool.
71:47 Daniel Fox has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
71:23 Steven Fletcher has an effort at goal from deep inside the box hitting the post.
Correction - 70:23 Substitution (Burnley) makes a substitution, with Chris Eagles coming on for Martin Paterson.
Correction - 70:23 Ryan Babel is caught offside.
70:23 Free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
70:23 Substitution Chris Eagles replaces Martin Paterson.
70:23 The referee blows for offside against Ryan Babel.
68:38 Steven Gerrard takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Steven Fletcher manages to make a clearance.
68:18 Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
67:42 Wade Elliott challenges Steven Gerrard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
66:52 Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
63:40 Martin Paterson decides to take a short corner.
Correction - 62:22 Substitution Robbie Blake replaces Graham Alexander.
Correction - 62:22 Foul by Ryan Babel on Leon Cort, free kick awarded.
62:22 Michael Duff restarts play with the free kick.
62:22 Substitution Robbie Blake replaces Graham Alexander.
62:22 Ryan Babel challenges Leon Cort unfairly and gives away a free kick.
61:08 David Nugent takes a shot. Comfortable save by Jose Reina.
60:19 Shot from just outside the area by Daniel Fox misses to the right of the target.
58:18 Assist on the goal came from Alberto Aquilani.
58:18 GOAL - Steven Gerrard:Burnley 0 - 2 Liverpool Goal scored by Steven Gerrard from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Burnley 0-2 Liverpool.
58:02 Effort on goal by Steven Fletcher from 18 yards. Blocked by Steven Fletcher.
56:12 The referee penalises Ryan Babel for handball. Free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
55:22 A cross is delivered by Wade Elliott, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
55:13 A cross is delivered by Graham Alexander, clearance by Daniel Agger.
54:37 Inswinging corner taken by Graham Alexander, clearance by Rodriguez Maxi.
Correction - 54:06 The ball is crossed by Martin Paterson, save made by Jose Reina.
54:06 The ball is crossed by Wade Elliott, save made by Jose Reina.
Correction - 51:30 Ryan Babel fouled by Martin Paterson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani. Steven Gerrard
fouled by Martin Paterson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Steven Gerrard, comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
Alberto Aquilani provided the assist for the goal.
Correction - 51:30 GOAL - Steven Gerrard:Burnley 0 - 1 Liverpool Steven Gerrard gets on the score sheet with a goal from the edge of the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Burnley
51:30 Free kick awarded for a foul by Martin Paterson on Ryan Babel. Free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani. Free kick awarded for
a foul by Martin Paterson on Steven Gerrard. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing,
comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
51:30 GOAL - Steven Gerrard:Burnley 0 - 1 Liverpool Steven Gerrard finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal.
Burnley 0-1 Liverpool.
49:58 A cross is delivered by Ryan Babel.
49:21 Jack Cork gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano. Glen Johnson restarts play with the free kick.
47:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Carragher on Steven Fletcher. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Tyrone
Mears, Jose Reina makes a save.
47:11 Substitution Yossi Benayoun comes on in place of Dirk Kuyt.
45:26 Jack Cork crosses the ball.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+2:06 The players leave the pitch at half time.
45:00+1:19 Leon Cort challenges Alberto Aquilani unfairly and gives away a free kick. Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.
45:00+0:39 The ball is crossed by Glen Johnson, Ryan Babel takes a shot. Comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
45:00+0:26 Alberto Aquilani takes a shot. Blocked by Leon Cort.
44:27 Martin Paterson produces a cross, Javier Mascherano makes a clearance.
44:03 Michael Duff restarts play with the free kick.
44:03 Booking Steven Gerrard booked.
43:45 Steven Gerrard gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wade Elliott.
43:14 Unfair challenge on Daniel Ayala by Steven Fletcher results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
42:40 Tyrone Mears crosses the ball, Jack Cork takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
41:36 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, clearance made by Daniel Fox.
39:36 A cross is delivered by Wade Elliott, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
39:03 Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Blocked by Jamie Carragher.
38:27 Martin Paterson crosses the ball, blocked by Javier Mascherano.
37:49 The ball is delivered by Steven Gerrard, comfortable save by Brian Jensen.
36:02 Corner taken right-footed by Graham Alexander.
35:57 A cross is delivered by Martin Paterson, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.
33:55 The ball is swung over by Martin Paterson.
32:10 Leon Cort fouled by Dirk Kuyt, the ref awards a free kick. Brian Jensen takes the free kick.
31:46 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Michael Duff.
31:39 Steven Gerrard delivers the ball, clearance by Leon Cort.
31:16 Foul by Wade Elliott on Alberto Aquilani, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.
30:24 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Brian Jensen makes a comfortable save.
29:48 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Blocked by Jack Cork.
29:40 The ball is swung over by Rodriguez Maxi.
28:50 Daniel Agger takes the direct free kick.
28:50 Booking Jack Cork receives a caution.
28:40 Jack Cork concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Agger.
27:24 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, Martin Paterson makes a clearance.
27:17 Steven Gerrard produces a cross, blocked by Graham Alexander.
26:39 Glen Johnson fouled by Steven Fletcher, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
26:03 Martin Paterson produces a cross, Close range header by Steven Fletcher goes over the crossbar.
25:30 The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
25:02 Ryan Babel challenges Martin Paterson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Graham Alexander takes the direct free kick.
23:38 Foul by Daniel Fox on Rodriguez Maxi, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
22:23 A cross is delivered by Dirk Kuyt.
20:24 Daniel Ayala challenges Wade Elliott unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Daniel Fox from
19:57 Free kick awarded for a foul by Javier Mascherano on Steven Fletcher. Graham Alexander takes the direct free kick.
18:17 Ryan Babel has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
13:01 Steven Fletcher is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
11:48 Dirk Kuyt crosses the ball, clearance made by Daniel Fox.
11:07 The ball is delivered by Alberto Aquilani.
10:42 Jamie Carragher fouled by David Nugent, the ref awards a free kick. Jamie Carragher restarts play with the free kick.
10:17 The ball is sent over by Glen Johnson, Graham Alexander manages to make a clearance.
9:50 Short corner taken by Steven Gerrard.
9:40 The ball is sent over by Steven Gerrard, Tyrone Mears manages to make a clearance.
8:45 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Duff by Dirk Kuyt. Direct free kick taken by Brian Jensen.
8:26 The ball is swung over by Alberto Aquilani, Daniel Fox makes a clearance.
6:24 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, save by Brian Jensen.
5:20 Dirk Kuyt delivers the ball, clearance made by Michael Duff.
3:41 Steven Gerrard takes the inswinging corner, Steven Fletcher makes a clearance.
2:57 The ball is swung over by Alberto Aquilani.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
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