How the final-day top-four battle between Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool unfolded

Liverpool and Chelsea secured their place in next season’s Champions League on a tense final day of the Premier League season.

It looked for long periods like Chelsea, behind against Aston Villa, might miss out. But they were spared by Leicester’s failure to beat Spurs, despite leading twice at the King Power.

Here’s how events unfolded around the grounds:

18 mins: Leicester 1-0 Tottenham. Jamie Vardy is too quick for Davinson Sanchez in the box and goes down under a challenge from Toby Alderweireld. The referee’s first decision is to ignore the appeals, but a VAR check results in the award of a penalty. Vardy picks himself up and sweeps the spot kick home. Leicester climb to third.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Leicester

69

21

4. Chelsea

68

23

5. Liverpool

67

24

36 mins: Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace. Liverpool, after a first half of almost constant pressure, send a corner into the box and the ball breaks kindly for Sadio Mane. He manages to prod the ball past Vicente Guaita and last season’s champions climb back into the top four.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Leicester

69

21

5. Chelsea

68

23

41 mins: Leicester 1-1 Tottenham. Some scruffy defending from Leicester allows Spurs to work a half-cleared corner into the box. The ball is cut back from the byline and drops to Kane in the middle. He finishes with typical composure and precision, and leaves the Foxes in a precarious position.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Chelsea

68

23

5. Leicester

67

20

44 mins: Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea. But Leicester are soon given some much-needed hope. A late first-half goal from Bertrand Traore, whose scruffy shot bounces up onto the crossbar and drops over the line, gives Aston Villa the lead over Chelsea. At half-time, it’s too close to call.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Chelsea

67

22

5. Leicester

67

20

53 mins: Leicester 2-1 Tottenham. Another Vardy penalty, and another significant change to the table. Sanchez pulls the striker back in the box and there’s no need for VAR this time. Again, Vardy’s spot kick is clinically dispatched. Chelsea, still trailing at Villa Park, drop out of the top four.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Leicester

69

21

5. Chelsea

67

22

52 mins: Aston Villa 2-0 Chelsea. Moments after Leicester regain the lead, Chelsea go further behind at Villa. Jorginho brings down Bertrand Traore in the box and Anwar El Ghazi dispatches the penalty. Worrying times for Tuchel.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Leicester

69

21

5. Chelsea

67

21

60 mins: Aston Villa 2-0 Chelsea. Timo Werner has the ball in the net, but the German is offside and Chelsea are left frustrated…

70 mins: Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea. Now Chelsea do get one back, and the margins become even finer. Ben Chilwell meets a cross at the back post and just about manages to fire past Emi Martinez, who can only paw the ball away after it’s crossed the line. Over at the King Power, the tension is palpable.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

25

4. Leicester

69

21

5. Chelsea

67

22

74 mins: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace. Liverpool effectively finish the job. There’s no fairytale send off for Roy Hodgson at Anfield as Salah sweeps a pass out to Mane, whose low shot deflects past Guaita and in at the near post. Jurgen Klopp celebrates passionately on the touchline. Over at the King Power…

77 mins: Leicester 2-2 Tottenham. Disaster for Leicester. Spurs swing a corner into the box and Kasper Schmeichel, under pressure from Sanchez, manages to punch the ball into his own net. The picture changes again.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

26

4. Chelsea

67

22

5. Leicester

67

20

87 mins: Leicester 2-3 Tottenham. Leicester are dead and buried. As they push for a winner, Spurs punish them. Kane is played in on goal by Son, rounds Schmeichel but can’t find an angle to shoot. Instead, he pulls the ball back for Bale, who drills his shot home. Champions League football cruelly evades Brendan Rodgers and his team again.

How it stood:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

26

4. Chelsea

67

22

5. Leicester

66

19

90+6 mins: Insult is added to injury as Bale scores his second in the final seconds and ends his season on a high. For Leicester, it will be Europa League football again next season, while Liverpool and Chelsea can celebrate.

The final table:

Pts

GD

3. Liverpool

69

26

4. Chelsea

67

22

5. Leicester

66

18

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