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Chelsea heat up CL chase by beating Liverpool


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07/05/18   LONDON Sports: As Manchester City finally collected the Premier League trophy on Sunday, Chelsea closed in on salvaging Champions League qualification from a lacklustre title defence and further weakened Liverpool’s grip on a top-four finish.
A resurgent Chelsea sealed a fifth successive victory when Olivier Giroud scored the only goal against Liverpool, which has only one win in five league games.
It’s an impressive turnaround for Chelsea, who have cut the gap to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur from 10 to two points in a month.
The 1-0 win over Liverpool sent Chelsea within three points of Juergen Klopp’s side, which has neglected its domestic responsibilities while qualifying for a first Champions League final in 11 years.
Frenchman Giroud headed what proved to be the winning goal in the 32nd minute, meaning the striker has now scored 17 league goals with his head since the start of 2015-16, more than any other player in Europes top five leagues.
While both Chelsea and Tottenham have two games remaining, Liverpool only has one game left and could be relying on its superior goal difference to secure a place in the Champions League unless Liverpool beat Real Madrid in the May 26 European final.
Whoever finishes fifth will have to settle for a spot in the Europa League alongside Arsenal and Burnley, who met on Sunday in Arsene Wenger’s final home match in charge of the London club. It was a fitting send-off from the Emirates Stadium for Wenger, with Arsenal demolishing Burnley 5-0.
Wenger is leaving Arsenal after 22 years, having failed to win the Premier League since 2004.
Arsenal put their midweek exit from the Europa League — and any hope of Champions League football next season — behind them with a pair of goals from Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Auba­m­eyang and strikes from Sead Kolasinac, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi.
City, who sealed the title three weeks ago, received the trophy for the third time in six years on Sunday but couldn’t produce a performance befitting title celebrations after being held 0-0 by Huddersfield Town.
The draw means City have 94 points, one short of the season record set by Chelsea back in 2004-05, but they still have two games left to play.
Huddersfield gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a point that moves them three clear of the bottom three ahead of their midweek trip to Chelsea.


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