Goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford saw United stroll to a crucial three points against Frank Lampard’s side, following Newcastle in sealing a return to the Champions League.
The result ensured that Erik ten Hag’s outfit moved to 72 points, leapfrogging Newcastle as Liverpool now sit four points behind the Magpies with just one more game remaining and an insurmountable tally, prompting Salah to write to the club’s fans shortly after their fate was confirmed at full-time.
Salah wrote in a statement on social media: “I’m totally devastated. There’s absolutely no excuse for this. We had everything we needed to make it to next year’s Champions League and we failed. We are Liverpool and qualifying to the competition is the bare minimum. I am sorry but it’s too soon for an uplifting or optimistic post. We let you and ourselves down.”
United’s stand-in captain Fernandes helped the Red Devils finish above their fierce rivals and was asked how much it meant to finish ahead of Liverpool this season. “We know it means a lot [to the fans],” he told Sky Sports. “For us it’s about getting our goals. We know we’d be happy also for Liverpool to not be there but for us it’s about getting the best for ourselves.
“[Getting the Champions League] is decent, it’s not perfect because we want more. For what we did this season it’s perfect. We get the trophy which was our goal after seeing we couldn’t get the Premier League. Now it’s about finishing the league well and going to FA Cup.”
Liverpool slipped up in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday as their hopes of a top-four finish took a major blow, but Klopp admitted that his side did not deserve Champions League football after their below-par campaign.
“I think the whole season is rather a season where we qualify for Europa League than for Champions League,” he said. “We were for too long not good enough or ourselves.”
Liverpool are confirmed to finish in fifth place in the Premier League as they are also four points ahead of sixth-placed Brighton, ensuring that the Reds’ final day trip to Southampton will be a dead rubber with Ruben Selles’ side already relegated.