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Reds send West Brom down, Chelsea stays third

WEST Bromwich Albion was relegated from the English Premier League after just one season when it lost 0-2 to Liverpool at The Hawthorns yesterday.

Goals from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt sealed West Brom's fate after a recent revival in its form suggested it could launch a second "great escape" after famously avoiding relegation in 2005.

Liverpool stayed in second place, behind champion Manchester United, moving on to 83 points - three ahead of Chelsea, which beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the day's other match.

A fourth minute header from Florent Malouda and a 58th minute strike from Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea victory in interim manager Guus Hiddink's last match in charge of the side at Stamford Bridge.

It was Anelka's 18th league goal of the season, putting him level at the top of the scoring chart with Cristiano Ronaldo of United.

The main talking point of the day was whether West Brom could upset Liverpool and keep alive its improbable hopes of staying up. Those chances receded after 28 minutes when England's Footballer of the Year Gerrard pounced on a mistake by center-back Shelton Martis. He failed to control a soft pass from a team mate and Gerrard was first to the loose ball, powering forward and firing past Albion goalkeeper Dean Kiely. It was his 24th goal of the season in all competitions.

Kuyt added the second in the 63rd when he flew past Jonas Olsson and shot low into the net.

Defensive mistake

"We gave it a good go, and if we'd gone a goal ahead... But it's probably the story of our season: a sloppy defensive mistake and we're up against it," West Brom midfielder Jonathan Greening told Sky Sports News.

"We've played some teams off the park this season and not got the results. It's just a lack of experience."

West Brom had chances to score, the best when substitute Luke Moore hit the post in the 77th and Marc-Antoine Fortune had the ball in the net soon after but was ruled offside.

And there was an angry confrontation between Jamie Carragher and Liverpool teammate Alvaro Arbeloa after the centerback accused the Spaniard of poor marking. Carragher pushed Arbeloa and they had to be kept apart by teammate Xabi Alonso.

As they have done for most of the season, the Baggies played some attractive football and fans gave them rousing support throughout the game and cheered them as they did a lap of honor with popular manager Tony Mowbray after the final whistle.

West Brom's relegation also came on the day it suspended striker Roman Bednar after claims that he bought cocaine and cannabis from a drug dealer hours after last week's 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.

West Brom plays its last match of the season at Blackburn Rovers next Sunday and remains bottom with 31 points. Sunderland (36 points), Hull City (35), Newcastle United (34) and Middlesbrough (32) are all still hoping to avoid filling the other two relegation places.


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