Penalty King Kuyt leads Liverpool to victory as Leicester’s promotion dream ends.

Dirk Kuyt’s eighth goal in seven outings ensured his richest scoring streak in Red continued, as Liverpool saw off a Toon lacking in the final third. With his penalty, and further goals from Maxi and Luis Suarez, Kuyt helped Liverpool’s goal difference as they took fifth place from Spurs.

It was not a dominant display from the home side as Newcastle had slightly more possession over 90 minutes, and a staggering 12-3 corner count in their favour. But they failed to deliver in front of goal, with only Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan having efforts of note.

With the game in the bag, Dalglish brought on Andy Carroll for the last 20 minutes. While The Kop applauded, the traveling Toon Army gave him some stick. They should, even begrudgingly, have given him some thanks. After all, his 11 goals in black and white will have helped keep them up.

Any vitriol should have been sent Mike Ashley’s way. The Newcastle owner did not use any of the £35 million gained from the Carroll sale to bring in another striker. Time, he’ll say, was too short.

Fifth place is now in Liverpool’s hands, a scenario possibly not entertained by even the most hopeful Kopite at New Year. It does create an issue that Liverpool fans can’t agree on. As debated on this week with great fervour, gaining entry into the Europa League is not possibly an achievement to relish.

There’s a myriad or pros and cons to qualification, but all teams will deal with their scenarios as soon as the season has finished. The variables are too many across the board to gain one perfect solution. Unless, for Liverpool fans it is to somehow squeak into the Champions League places this season. Even then, debate will still rage about whether it’s too soon for Kenny Dalglish’s red machine.

If Spurs fail to make the Champions League places this season the financial loss would hurt them more than mega-rich Manchester City, a clear positive for The Reds. The negatives that may affect Liverpool in the Europa will also affect Spurs. Would this then be a plus for Liverpool in their pursuit of a top four finish?

By way of chance and some late season drama, it looks as if Spurs, who play Manchester City on Tuesday night and then follow it up with a trip to Anfield the following Sunday, will have to test their mettle against their nearest rivals when nerves will be at their most vulnerable.

First though, Liverpool have to make sure they get three points when they visit Fulham on the Monday night game. Another fall out from Europa is the Sunday and Monday fixtures. Dalglish has no fresh injury concerns and with Jay Spearing having signed a new contract this week, he’ll be feeling even more buoyed with the reward for his recent stand out performances. The local lad will hope to continue his successful partnership with Lucas through to the end of the season.

A 1-1 draw gave Doncaster the point they need for Championship survival but ended The Foxes dream of sneaking into the play-offs. With one match of the season remaining only Leeds from outside the top six can move into the positions that will contest for the third and final promotion place to the riches of the Premier League. Leicester now sit in eleventh.

No doubt the squad and backroom staff will be warmly greeted on Saturday for the final game. Then upon the final whistle the City first team squad will surely take the opportunity for a lap of honour acknowledging the support of the fans throughout the campaign.

There will be a happy atmosphere at The Walkers as the club has asked the Foxes faithful to attend in fancy dress. As seen at many World Cups football fans don’t often need a second invitation to stand out in the crowd, especially when the prize this good is on offer.

The winner will win the brand new 2011/12 home shirt, which is revealed at 9am Saturday morning, and an executive box for themselves and nine friends on the first home game of next season. Club legend Alan Birchenhall will be choosing the winner himself.

The Foxes could finish as high as eighth if results go their way, which will mean a little extra prize money for the kitty in the summer. This may be vital, as Eriksson knows the owners want Premier League football at the end of next season.

He told BBC East Midlands Today: “I have regular meetings and I know they want Premier League, and probably they will say it is a must – which is good.”

After looking like good play-off candidates an inconsistent March and April saw Leicester fall from contention. But the earlier graph shows just how far the team rose in a very difficult league to negotiate.

Leicester will have to gather themselves for the first day of pre-season but in the meantime look back on what they did achieve this season and believe they can do better for 2011/12.


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