Chelsea FC claimed a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round with a 2-1 win against Liverpool FC as West Ham United FC were relegated on the Premiership's last day.
Liverpool needed victory at Stamford Bridge to overhaul the home side and enter the Champions League for the third season running behind champions Manchester United FC, runners-up Arsenal FC and Newcastle United FC.
They seemed to be on the right track when Sami Hyypiä put them ahead on eleven minutes. But that changed three minutes later, when Marcel Desailly headed Chelsea level from a free-kick and Jesper Grønkjær's goal in the 27th minute proved enough to confirm fourth place for Chelsea. Liverpool, who had Steven Gerrard sent off late on, enter the UEFA Cup.
They and FA Cup finalists Southampton FC will be joined by Blackburn Rovers FC, who clinched sixth place with a 4-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur FC. Dwight Yorke gave Blackburn a fifth-minute lead and Tottenham's hopes evaporated after Gustavo Poyet's red card on the half-hour. Craig Hignett doubled Blackburn's advantage just before half-time, and after the break Damien Duff and Andy Cole added further goals.
United deny Everton
Everton FC were pipped by Blackburn after losing 2-1 to champions United, who received the trophy following the match. Ruud van Nistelrooij's penalty winner was his 25th Premiership goal this season, crowning him as leading scorer. Everton striker Wayne Rooney was taken off with a medial knee ligament injury and is out of England's tour to South Africa. He will have a scan on Monday and may miss June's UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against Slovakia.
West Ham were demoted after ten seasons in the top flight with a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City FC. In their final game under caretaker manager Trevor Brooking, they knew they needed to better Bolton Wanderers FC's result at home to Middlesbrough FC to survive.
At half-time Bolton led 2-0 through Per Frandsen and Jay Jay Okocha, but Michael Ricketts pulled one back for Middlesbrough to give West Ham hope then Les Ferdinand put the London side ahead. However, a combination of Geoff Horsfield and Stern John's goals for Birmingham and Franck Queudrue's sending-off for Middlesbrough kept Bolton up and consigned West Ham - who levelled through Paolo Di Canio - to Division One along with West Bromwich Albion FC and Sunderland AFC.
Sunderland ended the season with a Premiership record low of 19 points and 15 straight defeats as they lost 4-0 at Arsenal. Thierry Henry's opener was followed by a Fredrik Ljungberg hat-trick. Newcastle drew 2-2 at West Brom, while Leeds United AFC celebrated surviving relegation by beating Aston Villa FC 3-1.
Southampton spoil City party
Fulham FC secured a 1-0 win at Charlton Athletic FC, but Manchester City FC's final match at their Maine Road stadium after 80 years was a single-goal defeat by Southampton, who face Arsenal in next Saturday's FA Cup final.
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