Divock Origi will leave Anfield a "Liverpool legend" with tributes from Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp, who described the striker as "one of the most important players I ever had".

Despite being a fringe player for much of his time on Merseyside, Origi has become a Liverpool icon thanks to a series of vital goals.

Most notably, the Belgium international scored twice in an epic Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona, before making sure of the Reds' final triumph with another strike versus Tottenham.

Origi has also enjoyed a sensational record in derbies against Everton, scoring six times in the Premier League – twice as many as he has netted against any other team in the competition.

However, his contract is up at the end of the season, and while James Milner, in the same situation, could yet stay at Liverpool, Klopp confirmed the imminent departure of an Anfield favourite.

Asked if Origi and Milner could expect special receptions against Wolves in the final home game of the season, Klopp said: "We can only do that if we know it definitely."

But he added to his press officer: "I think that's only Div, right?"

Captain Henderson had suggested as much in his pre-match programme notes, published ahead of Klopp's news conference.

Pointing out Origi had scored the winner in the reverse fixture at Wolves, Henderson wrote: "It looks like today [Sunday] will be Divock's last at Anfield for Liverpool, so I hope he gets the kind of send-off he deserves.

"Actually I know that he will because he has been such a special player for us, but he is also an incredible person who has taken this city and its people to his heart. 

"His legacy will be his achievements for this club, but it will also be the good causes he has supported, like the local students he is helping to put through university.

"Today should be a celebration no matter what happens, and as club captain I will certainly be celebrating Divock and wishing him all the best for the future. The big fella deserves nothing less."

Klopp added: "I expect Divock to get a special reception or farewell or whatever. He is and will be for me forever a Liverpool legend, one of the most important players I ever had.

"That sounds completely strange [with] the amount of games he had, but it is and was a pure joy to work together with him. It's not over yet, just because it's the last Premier League game.

"He deserves all good thoughts we can generate somehow for his future. Wherever he will go, he will be a success 100 per cent.

"He is an outstanding player, outstanding boy, everybody in the team loves him. He's such a relaxed guy, a lovable guy

"It will be a harsh moment when he actually leaves. For us, it will not be now, but whenever he leaves, it will be harsh. Since I'm here, Div is here.

"I remember so many things about Div that are incredible. Important goals, injuries, bad injuries, all these kind of things, ups and downs, so he is a Liverpool legend, no doubt."

Klopp had been asked about the possibility of other exits, with Takumi Minamino among those on the fringes, and he replied: "I don't want to see anyone leave, but that's life, that's the situation.

"Nobody came to me and said, 'I want to go', no agent called me. We will see what happens. Honestly, it's not the time."

Indeed, Klopp said he has "no idea who wants to go" and urged focus instead on the final two matches of the season, which could yet add Premier League and Champions League titles to their EFL Cup and FA Cup wins.

Henderson said: "The final home game of the season is always a special occasion. It's something that the players, staff and our families all look forward to, particularly if it has been a decent campaign, because Anfield feels even more festive than usual. 

"It is also something that is especially true today as we head towards the last game of a season which will go down as one of the most incredible in the history of this great club.

"As things stand, it is not yet incredible in terms of trophies. Up to now we have won the two domestic cups and, while that is absolutely brilliant, we still want more, and we are also well aware that previous Liverpool teams have won more.

"But in terms of playing every possible game in every competition, fighting to the very end in all four, and creating stories and memories that will live with all of us forever, it could only be described as incredible."

Jurgen Klopp sees no need to call Steven Gerrard as a means to provide the Liverpool legend with extra motivation when his Aston Villa side attempt to deny Manchester City the Premier League title this weekend.

Liverpool's quest for what would be a remarkable quadruple is reliant upon the Reds beating Wolves at Anfield, while hoping Villa can deny Pep Guardiola's side three points at the Etihad Stadium in a mouth-watering final day.

Fans of football romanticism will revel in the fact Gerrard, a man who famously failed to win the Premier League in his distinguished Liverpool career, can help his former club in their bid for history.

Klopp acknowledged the fact internally Gerrard may want to help Liverpool secure the third of four trophies they can still win, but that the former England midfielder would have been going all out for the win regardless.

"I can think of these situations only by thinking of myself in this role, so if I would play a game and could help Dortmund or could help Mainz, whatever, it would mean an extra motivation, that's how it is," Klopp told a pre-match news conference.

"But I don't play, Stevie doesn't play. That's a shame. Much more a shame Stevie doesn't play than I don't play! So, of course we are all human beings and have these things - Stevie will take it 100 per cent serious without me calling him, I don't have to. 

"A really good example I think is last night's game with Crystal Palace [a match the Eagles lost 3-2 to Everton, who secured Premier League safety]. 

"One of the most important games for Everton in their history, Crystal Palace turns up and plays incredible football. They played really good, they lost, congratulations to Everton for staying up. They played to win, Aston Villa plays to win."

Liverpool were Premier League champions in the coronavirus-disrupted 2019-2020 season, ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title.

On that occasion, there was no trophy parade due to the COVID-19 enforced restrictions, with Klopp insisting celebrations would happen when the time is right.

For Klopp, whatever happens in the title race and the outcome of their Champions League final against Real Madrid next week, there is plentiful reason to celebrate in a season full of "joy" at a victory parade planned for May 29.

"We have so many reasons to celebrate. I think it's enough to celebrate life. Of course, Carabao Cup, FA Cup, I know we didn't have parade two years ago so I am happy we can deliver what I promised that time," he added.

"It's about us what we want to celebrate, couldn't care less what others say. It's just for us, it's just for Liverpool FC. It's just to celebrate that we are together in this moment of time. That's enough to celebrate but this May 29th will be a great day.

"It's been tough but great, a joy to be part of this season. It's exceptional this group. In this building, it's insane. These people are a pure joy.

"It's so rare this and you cannot plan it. But the boys did it. Fed by the people here, the fans, it's a fantastic time."

Klopp also offered his thoughts on the increasingly concerning scenes in English football this week relating to pitch invasions.

Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was attacked by a supporter following the Blades' penalty shoot-out loss in the Championship play-offs semi-final to Nottingham Forest, while Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with a spectator in Palace's 3-2 loss to Everton.

"It's been 83 minutes, some fathers and sons were on the pitch, they lose their minds for their sons too, I didn't get that. It could have been dangerous," Klopp said.

"I'm not sure how you avoid that, I don't want to judge, I understand emotions but for the other team it's dangerous.

"I really hope we learn from that. It's just like it is. We should make sure absolutely nothing happens.

"We can celebrate things without threatening ourselves and the opponent."

Jurgen Klopp understands Mohamed Salah would be keen to play on the final day of the Premier League season and clinch the Golden Boot, but neither Liverpool nor the player are willing to take any risks with his fitness.

Salah sustained a groin injury in Liverpool's FA Cup final win over Chelsea last weekend and missed the midweek victory at Southampton that keeps the Reds in contention for the title.

There could yet be a double celebration for Klopp's men on Sunday, with City only one point ahead while Salah (22 goals) narrowly leads Son Heung-min (21) in the scoring charts.

But given Liverpool also have the Champions League final against Real Madrid to consider the final week, they have to be sure Salah is fit to play.

The winger – who has been nominated for the PFA Fans' Player of the Year, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Conor Gallagher and Declan Rice – is not the cup winners' only injury concern either.

Virgil van Dijk (knee) was also injured at Wembley, while Fabinho (hamstring) hobbled out of the prior match against Aston Villa. Joe Gomez, who has a history of serious injuries, had an ankle problem at Southampton.

"Joe has good news," Klopp said ahead of Sunday's match against Wolves. "We want a reassuring further scan, but the first was like he and we thought after the game – we were lucky.

"It was a proper knock, but nothing happened. It's the leg where he was injured, so I understand 100 per cent everyone was concerned; I was, until I saw Joe's face in the dressing room, because most of the time we know best about our body.

"The result of this [second] scan is not here yet, but we don't expect anything really different. It's just about reassuring it's all fine.

"And then from there, we go. If it's fine, then it's about pain: how can he deal with pain? We'll see what Joe can do today or tomorrow, but I don't know at the moment.

"With the other boys, it looks all good. What we do with them at the weekend, I have no idea.

"I understand 100 per cent the goalscoring battle with Son Heung-min, but there is no chance we take any risk; Mo doesn't want to take any risk, there's no doubt about that.

"But it looks good, the boys made steps. We will see.

"My preferred solution would be they all could play at the weekend, for rhythm reasons, stuff like this, or at least could be on the bench and we could bring them on or not. But if not, then we take it from there. I cannot say 100 per cent."

Richarlison told Liverpool legend and prominent pundit Jamie Carragher to "wash your mouth" and "I don't respect you" after helping Everton secure Premier League survival.

The Toffees were in a desperate situation at half-time of Thursday's clash with Crystal Palace at Goodison Park, trailing 2-0 to goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew.

However, Michael Keane reduced the deficit and Richarlison equalised to set up a blockbuster finish that saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin score an 85th-minute winner to ensure Frank Lampard's side staved off relegation with a game to spare.

Ex-Liverpool defender Carragher has taken aim at Richarlison in the past, particularly over what he perceived to be play-acting in matches against Liverpool and Chelsea.

Carragher, a former England defender, later wrote on social media that his assessment of the Brazil forward was "nothing to do with bias".

But Richarlison clearly has not forgotten the criticism and took the opportunity to hit back at Carragher.

He posted on Twitter: "Wash your mouth before you talk about me and Everton and I don't respect you."

Everton round out their season with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday, with the Gunners needing a win to have any hope of beating rivals Tottenham in the race for the top four.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. It appears time will finally run out on Sunday and the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga will finally be at its end.

Paris Saint-Germain have experienced another monumental blow this season with another cruel elimination in the Champions League and Real Madrid are waiting in the wings.

According to reports, the 23-year-old will finally announce his decision on Sunday.

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO CONFIRM DECISION ON SUNDAY  

Kylian Mbappe will announce whether he will play for Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid on Sunday, according to L'Equipe.

The Parisian has never hidden his admiration for LeBron James and appears set to mimic his 'The Decision' announcement from 2010.

What is for certain according to reports, Mbappe is intent on announcing the decision before the France national team meets up for camp in Clairefontaine on May 28.

While it has been recently reported a move to Real Madrid seems likelier, talks are still ongoing according to the L'Equipe report, with PSG aiming to scupper a potential move at the last minute.

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, France team-mate and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba had agreed personal terms with Manchester City, according to the Times, but backed out in fear of fan backlash and now appears likely to move abroad.

– Along with Pogba, Juventus are also hoping to further bolster their midfield stocks and sign Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

– Diario AS is reporting Paulo Dybala has ruled out a move to Tottenham once his contract with Juve expires at the end of the season.

– Kalidou Koulibaly has emerged as a target for Barcelona, who would be willing to add Miralem Pjanic as part of a package deal for Napoli, per Fichajes.

We are at the final gameweek of the Premier League fantasy football season, and the moment of truth has arrived – not for Manchester City and Liverpool, but for the fantasy players out there.

Balancing between premium players and those who can provide particular value could be the difference at this time of the season, whether you need to consolidate or make up ground.

Stats Perform has you covered with some Opta-powered recommendations below, so here are our suggestions for this week's picks.

HUGO LLORIS (Norwich City v Tottenham)

A good start at this point of the season is determining which teams have something to play for, and with Champions League qualification on the line, Tottenham are one of the more relevant examples this weekend.

Sitting on 15 for the season so far, Hugo Lloris is one clean sheet away from recording his most in a single Premier League campaign, with only Alisson and Ederson ahead of him on 20.

The 35-year-old has made a solid 2.65 saves per 90 on the way to his 15 clean sheets, holding that bit of extra motivation coming into the final round.

ANDREW ROBERTSON (Liverpool v Wolves)

Liverpool need to win to keep their Premier League hopes alive, and they will likely have the majority of the ball against Wolves on Sunday. Expect crosses and dead balls.

As a result, expect as ever for Liverpool's full-backs to be prominent, and Andrew Robinson is just one shy of recording 50 assists in the Premier League. He would become only the second defender to do so, after Leighton Baines.

He is averaging more assists per 90 (0.37) and chances created per 90 (2.02) for Liverpool this season than in any of his previous campaigns.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Brentford v Leeds United)

Granted, Brentford have little to play for aside from professional pride, but Christian Eriksen's return to the Premier League has reinforced his transformative quality as a footballer. They're also playing Leeds.

The 30-year-old has either scored or assisted in five of his nine Premier League starts this season, while only Kevin de Bruyne has created more chances than him per 90 this term. 

While Eriksen also trails De Bruyne for assists since the 2013-14 season on 66, this season has seen him create a chance every 32 minutes on average.

MICHAIL ANTONIO (Brighton and Hove Albion v West Ham)

Despite West Ham's elimination in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, the season is not over. The Hammers still need a win to stand a chance of taking that last Europa League spot from Manchester United.

Another goal for Michail Antonio would see him score at least 10 goals in three consecutive seasons, which would also make him the first West Ham player to do so in the Premier League. 

He also has 17 goal involvements for the season, his most in the competition.

Three of Manchester City's five previous Premier League triumphs have gone right to the wire, where margins are so fine the title battle can be settled by a single man in a single moment.

Sergio Aguero of course set the standard in 2011-12 with surely the most iconic goal of the Premier League era, defeating QPR at the death and clinching a first City championship in 44 years.

Then, in 2018-19, it was Vincent Kompany's turn. Although the departing City captain made only 17 league appearances that year, he will forever be associated with the title win after his thunderous strike secured a vital late-season victory over Leicester City.

"Where do you want your statue, Vincent Kompany?" asked Sky Sports' Gary Neville. Both Aguero and Kompany – and those celebrations – have since been committed to steel structures outside the Etihad Stadium.

The City hero was perhaps not quite so clear-cut in 2013-14, when Liverpool's collapse took centre stage, but Yaya Toure's 20 goals from midfield kept his side in touch. While City spent only 15 days of the season at the summit, the win that put them there in the final week perhaps provided the defining image of the champions' campaign, as Toure charged through the Aston Villa defence to score a goal that BBC Sport's Alan Shearer considered "like watching a 15-year-old against under-12s".

Three City legends have had seasons to call their own. Kevin De Bruyne, until now, had not.

De Bruyne was the PFA Players' Player of the Year in consecutive years, but the 2019-20 campaign in which he equalled Thierry Henry's 20-assist, single-season record ended with Liverpool on top. The 2020-21 season played out largely without fans and ultimately without a serious challenge to City, robbing their leading man of his platform.

Consistent excellence had for so long characterised the midfielder's career rather than any particular peak.

Now, however, 2021-22 might be remembered as the De Bruyne season – a most unexpected conclusion given how the campaign started, as perhaps his worst in a City shirt.

'Difficult physically and mentally'

The player of the year he may have been, but De Bruyne's 2020-21 season did not finish in the manner he would have wished.

The former Chelsea man lasted only an hour of City's Champions League final defeat to the Blues last May, suffering facial fractures that impacted his preparation for Euro 2020. De Bruyne found form again at the finals, only to hobble out of Belgium's last-16 win over Portugal with an ankle issue.

Although De Bruyne played in the next round, as Belgium lost to Italy, he continued to be hampered by the injury at the start of this season, appearing in City's Premier League opener but then not again for almost four weeks.

"It's been a bit difficult physically and mentally," the 30-year-old told the MIDMID podcast in November, revealing he had played through "some serious pain".

"It's going to be a little more difficult this year than usual," De Bruyne suggested, and that seemed a fair prediction.

The City superstar, who also missed time with COVID-19, made his 10th league appearance of the season in a 1-0 home win over Wolves on December 11. At that stage, he had scored only twice in the competition and failed to provide a single assist – averaging a goal involvement every 246 minutes.

The only comparable De Bruyne season in a City shirt was in 2018-19, when two knee ligament injuries meant his 10th league appearance did not come until early February. Over 465 minutes up to that point, he scored once.

That is the sole other example of De Bruyne not contributing an assist through his first 10 league outings in a season for City; in fact, he had tallied at least four assists and six goal involvements by that point in each of his other five campaigns prior to 2021-22.

A week before De Bruyne's podcast appearance last year, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez was also asked to address his star man's form, acknowledging the "scrutiny" he faced while underperforming in a team as talented as City's.

"I'm not worried at all," Martinez said. "We feel that his best football is coming back."

De Bruyne added: "I just needed more time than expected."

'Now he scores a lot'

De Bruyne's 11th game of this campaign was very different. In a 7-0 City win over Leeds United, the team's talisman doubled his seasonal tally by scoring twice, including a thunderous 25-yard drive for his second.

"For the whole team, it's a booster," De Bruyne told NBC Sports – although that surely applied more to the two-goal star than his team-mates, with City moving four points clear at the top of the table with the victory.

"There's been a lot happening this year, a little bit out of my control, so the only thing I can do is try to work hard and come back as quick as possible," he said.

It was clearly a turning point for De Bruyne, who has scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in 19 matches from the Leeds game onwards. A goal involvement every 81 minutes over this period just beats his single-season best from 2019-20 (85 minutes per goal involvement).

Yet De Bruyne's role has altered in the past two years. He will not match his outstanding 33 goal involvements from the year Liverpool won the title, but 15 goals already represent a career high with one game still to play on Sunday.

The reason for that change perhaps has more to do with De Bruyne's City team-mates than the player himself.

In 2019-20, six of De Bruyne's 20 assists were for record goalscorer Aguero – more than for any other player. Of course, Aguero has since departed.

The retired striker was City's leading marksman in six of his 10 league campaigns in Manchester, including each of his first four playing alongside De Bruyne.

With Aguero gone and Erling Haaland not arriving until next term, City needed someone to fill the void in front of goal. De Bruyne, whether used in midfield or attack, has done that in the second half of the season.

Despite the slow start, City's top scorer has scored with 20.3 per cent of his shots in 2021-22; his previous high, in his debut 2015-16 season, saw a shot conversion rate of 14.3 per cent.

"I like it a lot," Pep Guardiola said in April after De Bruyne had netted four in four games – including two against Manchester United and one against Liverpool.

"He is not just a player to make assists – now he scores a lot of goals. I've said to him many times, 'I know you enjoy making a lot of assists, for you and your team-mates, but you have to score goals to reach another stage'. Now he is doing that, a lot of goals and chances."

'We have to move on'

De Bruyne has either scored or assisted in 13 of his past 19 games, but he saved his best performances for when it mattered most – at least in the league.

There were suspicions City's season might fall apart when Real Madrid's remarkable semi-final recovery eliminated Guardiola's side from the Champions League at the start of May. With Liverpool in hot pursuit in the Premier League, the leaders were afforded little time to regroup as they headed straight into matches against Newcastle United at home and Wolves away.

"We are going to play against Newcastle thinking about [the Madrid defeat], for sure," said Guardiola in an enthralling news conference, revealing two days before the Newcastle match: "We didn't speak. No words can help what all of us feel. It's just a question of time."

Time, and Tottenham drawing at Liverpool, as it turned out.

A rare slip-up at Anfield on the eve of City's game against Newcastle eased the pressure on the champions. Then De Bruyne got to work.

Briefly restored to his 2019-20 vintage, De Bruyne attempted only a single shot at the Etihad but created six chances in a 5-0 win – his most in a single game this season – including an assist for Rodri's goal.

That performance prompted Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio to declare De Bruyne "the greatest player to ever play for Manchester City", "the best midfield player in the world right now" and "the best player in the Premier League for the past three or four years".

Yet better was still to come at Wolves, where City became the first team in English top-flight history to win five consecutive league games by a margin of at least three goals. De Bruyne alone outscored Wolves by three, netting four in a 5-1 victory.

The first hat-trick of his City career was completed inside 24 minutes – the third-fastest in Premier League history – to blow away a Wolves team who had briefly threatened to cause their visitors some problems.

"It should have been five, to be honest," De Bruyne told Sky Sports, before conversation turned back to the Madrid match.

"It's very difficult to explain because it was just a mad five minutes," he said. "It's not that we played bad or something, it was just five minutes that you can't explain as a player. I don't know what happened. I was out of control on the bench anyway, so you feel a little bit in shock. It's not nice and the feeling is still not nice.

"But you need to move on. We're trying now to win the title and whatever happened unfortunately happened. We have to move on."

The Wolves display would have been fresh in Carragher's mind on Monday when he named De Bruyne his personal player of the season. Whether established individual end-of-season honours beckon for De Bruyne is another matter, though. He was nominated for the official Premier League prize, but many such awards are voted on well in advance of the final weeks of the campaign – before De Bruyne had done his best work.

Mohamed Salah is the FWA Footballer of the Year; he has scored three goals in his past 10 games – fewer than De Bruyne managed on one night in Wolverhampton.

A Premier League title, defined by his clutch performances, would not be a bad consolation.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with an Everton fan following his team's 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Palace threw away a 2-0 half-time lead in the second half, and the dramatic victory for the Toffees ensured their Premier League status for another season.

The delirious home fans descended onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate, but one fan approached Vieira and appeared to taunt him.

The former Arsenal midfielder initially ignored the man, before turning to confront him, seeming to kick out before being ushered away by other Everton supporters.

Vieira refused to speak about the incident in his post-match media conference, though his opposite number Frank Lampard said he "felt" for the Frenchman being put in that situation.

"I feel for Patrick," the Everton boss said at his own media conference. "I didn't get him at the end. I would have said, 'come in with us' – although he might not have wanted that.

"Of course he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it's not easy."

This was not the first unsavoury incident to take place in English football in the last week involving pitch invasions, with a Nottingham Forest fan being arrested and later jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp following Forest's penalty shoot-out win in the Championship playoff semi-finals on Tuesday.

There were further concerns raised about fans endangering players during pitch invasions after both League Two playoff games involving Mansfield Town and Northampton Town on Wednesday, and Swindon Town and Port Vale on Thursday.

On the fans coming onto the pitch, Lampard added: "It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation.

"If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem."

Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea must find a solution to N'Golo Kante's fitness struggles after the Blues came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Leicester City.

Marcos Alonso volleyed home to cancel out James Maddison's opener in front of Todd Boehly, part of a consortium looking to take ownership of the club, with the Blues all but securing a third-place finish in the Premier League despite having won just one of their last five league games (three draws, one loss).

Tuchel's men have now drawn 11 league games during a frustrating season, more than they have managed in a single campaign since recording 10 stalemates when finishing 10th in 2015-16.

World Cup winner Kante played the first 72 minutes against his former club before being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but has been linked with a move away with his Stamford Bridge contract due to expire in 2023.

The 31-year-old has only started 20 of the Blues' 37 league games this term, featuring for a total of just 1,688 minutes in the Premier League and missing out entirely on 12 of the team's league fixtures.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Tuchel said the midfielder was Chelsea's "key player", stressing the need to resolve his fitness issues.

Tuchel also likened Kante to the players such as Mohammed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and several other world stars, claiming he lifts the rest of the side when fit.

"I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games, so then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place," Tuchel said.

"He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

"He is that guy who makes the difference and if you only have him for 40 per cent then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. 

"It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N'Golo is our key player and we need him on the pitch.

"It's hard to live with. It's important for him to be there and to have the rhythm. I think he played okay but he can play so much better. But when was the last game he started? It was weeks ago. So he constantly starts getting rhythm, but once he has that, there comes a little injury and he's out again.

"Last year, in the last five matches of the Champions League, he got the [man of the match] trophy. This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he is only here for 40-something per cent of the matches. This is huge for us."

Meanwhile, Chelsea were once again left to rely on their wing-backs to provide attacking impetus against the Foxes, with Reece James claiming his eighth league assist of the season by teeing up Alonso's goal.

James has now created twice as many goals this season as in his previous two Premier League campaigns combined (four assists in 56 appearances), while the Blues also racked up 20 shots to Leicester's two over the course of the contest.

Christian Pulisic was guilty of missing Chelsea's best chance to claim a second-half winner as the hosts created 1.64 expected goals (xG) to the Foxes' 0.09, and while Tuchel was content with his team's performance, he was again left to bemoan their lack of cutting edge.  

"We were the better team and deserved to win," he added. "We didn't allow any chances and got punished by a shot from outside the box. We created enough to win, didn't allow transitions and chances for Leicester. So, I am fine with the performance.

"It's a bit of a broken record, we did not take what we deserve. We needed a goal from a wing-back and an assist from a wing-back."

Chelsea will round off their Premier League campaign with another home match on Sunday, when relegated Watford travel to Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard hailed Everton's dramatic 3-2 win against Crystal Palace as "one of the greatest moments of my footballing life" after battling back from two goals down to clinch Premier League safety.

Everton entered Thursday's contest at Goodison Park knowing that victory would guarantee them a 69th consecutive campaign of English top-flight football – a record only Arsenal (97 from next season) can better – but trailed to goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew before half-time.

However, for the first time in their Premier League history, at what was the 75th attempt, the Toffees recovered from a two-goal deficit at the midway point of a game to collect all three points thanks to goals from Michael Keane, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Lampard's side can no longer be caught by Leeds United and Burnley in the final relegation spot with one fixture – away at top-four chasing Arsenal on Sunday – remaining.

And while Chelsea great Lampard may have been more accustomed to winning major trophies across his playing days, the Everton boss ranks the victory over Palace as a career highlight.

"It is one of the greatest moments of my footballing life and career," he told BBC Sport. "I have been very fortunate to have amazing times, especially at Chelsea as a player and a coach. 

"But when you feel the feelings and desperation of what relegation brings to the table, it is different. You need to dig in. You lose games, you fight to do something and then you lose another game. People think you should fly up the table and it is never that way. 

"Coming in here three and a half months ago with my amazing staff, positive people who work so hard, and trying to affect things and getting a reaction from the players, from the fans and feeling unity when it looked split. This club is special and I am proud to be manager of Everton on this night."

Everton have now gained 15 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – only Liverpool (17) have recovered more – with 38 per cent of their points in 2021-22 coming in games in which they have fallen behind.

Lampard, who took over from Rafael Benitez at the end of January, celebrated the latest comeback triumph wildly with Everton fans, his backroom staff members and the club board.

"I thought I might cry at full-time; I thought I might jump out of my body," he said. "Nobody can question the celebrations at the end. It is easy to say 'but you haven't won anything'. You know what, come and work at this club for a few months and see the difficulties and what it means to people to stay in this league. 

"See us 2-0 down at half-time, playing poorly, ridiculous second goal and then see the character they showed. See the fans on the pitch in good heart and spirit. They have pulled us over the line, they have been more than a 12th man. But the players also deserve huge credit. An amazing night."

He added: "I'm overwhelmed and I've got so much thanks for people because there's a lot of people who have worked so hard for that, to get over the line today. Namely the players, the fans, the board, my staff. Huge night for Everton and now we want to take that forward."

Dele Alli, who has struggled since arriving from Tottenham in the January window, played a huge part in the turnaround after being introduced at the interval.

"Dele was brilliant when he came on. He changed the game individually," Lampard said. "We had already changed the system but it was to give a little bit of information. 

"It was nothing to do with a system change to change the game, it was always going to be the players, their character and desire to engage the crowd and make something happen.

"I can't take too much credit. I didn't come up with some new magical tactics. We went direct, but no problem in this position. But we relied on the players."

Chelsea all but secured a third-place Premier League finish with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City as Marcos Alonso coolly cancelled out James Maddison's excellent opener.

Alonso volleyed home late in the first half after Maddison found the back of the net from 20 yards, but the Blues spurned several chances to find a winner.

Although Chelsea failed to respond to Saturday's FA Cup final loss with a victory, the Blues' significant goal difference advantage over Tottenham means they all but guaranteed a third-place finish with the draw.

Thomas Tuchel's men will also be grateful for having taken another step towards the end of a challenging season as the club hopes for a resolution to the protracted takeover saga involving the Todd Boehly-led consortium.

The visitors needed just seven minutes to take the lead, with Maddison firing an excellent long-range strike beyond Edouard Mendy after latching onto a loose ball outside the area.

But that proved to be the Foxes' only shot of the first half as Chelsea began to dominate possession, with Kasper Schmeichel forced to tip Trevoh Chalobah's fierce 25-yard effort over the crossbar 10 minutes in.

Thiago Silva headed over from Reece James' corner after half an hour, but the Blues levelled just five minutes later when Alonso fired home at the near post after racing onto James' lofted pass.

Romelu Lukaku nodded Hakim Ziyech's left-wing delivery wide as Chelsea continued to dominate, but Christian Pulisic was guilty of the Blues' worst miss with the goal gaping just after the hour.

Chalobah then headed straight at Schmeichel as the Chelsea pressure continued, but Brendan Rodgers' men clung on to deny Chelsea a rare home win at the end of a difficult campaign.

What does it mean? Chelsea close in on third, but home comforts still lacking

With a three-point advantage over Tottenham and a goal difference 18 better than that of Antonio Conte's men, Chelsea are virtually assured of their first top-three Premier League finish since the 2018-19 campaign.

However, Chelsea have won on just one of their last five outings at Stamford Bridge, limping over the line as they search for an end to the off-pitch uncertainty around the club.

Creative James leads the way

Although Alonso applied a fine volleyed finish to score Chelsea's equaliser, he was teed up by a sumptuous chipped ball from James, who has now recorded eight Premier League assists this season.

That is the most a Chelsea player aged 22 or under has managed in a single league campaign since Eden Hazard in 2012-13 (11), while only Mason Mount (10) has more for the Blues this term.

Maddison strikes from range again

Despite Leicester enduring an underwhelming season, Maddison has enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign for the Foxes, netting his 11th league goal of the season to open the scoring.

Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, meanwhile, the midfielder has scored 14 goals from outside the area in the competition – only James Ward-Prowse (15) has scored more in that time. 

What's next? 

Chelsea finish their Premier League season at home to Watford on Sunday, while Leicester host Southampton on the same day.

Christian Eriksen would have a statue built in his honour in the next "two, three years" should he stay at Brentford, Thomas Frank has said.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest when playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020, but survived the ordeal.

However, the 30-year-old was unable to play for Inter due to medical rulings in Italy preventing players from competing after having a cardioverter-defibrillator fitted.

Brentford subsequently offered the midfielder a six-month contract in January and Eriksen has starred, scoring once and assisting four in 10 league games to lift Brentford way clear of any danger.

Eriksen has also created 26 chances since his Brentford debut in February, with only Son Heung-min (27), Martin Odegaard (33) and Kevin De Bruyne (37) laying on more opportunities in the Premier League in that period.

Manchester United and Eriksen's former club Tottenham are reportedly circling, but Frank has reiterated his desire for his compatriot to stay with Brentford.

"I'd love to say 100 per cent but I am convinced there is a good chance that he will wear a Brentford shirt [next season]," he said of Eriksen at a news conference on Thursday.

"The way we play, our environment, and the role he is given, gives him an opportunity to flourish and play his best game.

"He enjoys going to work every day and I still think you can be extremely ambitious playing for us.

"I know I am optimistic, but I also picked up the phone and called him and said 'do you want to come to Brentford', no one thought about that six months ago.

"So I'm convinced we will have a chance, the way I see it for us it is a win-win. He helped the team, he gave something to the fans they have never seen before at this level.

"We helped him back to his football life again, for Christian it's a win-win, either he signs for us and everyone will be happy.

"The fans will build a statue of him outside the stadium in two, three years' time or he goes to a bigger level and we will applaud him and we will say thank you for your time; go forward."

Brentford will be hoping Eriksen can deliver again when they conclude their maiden Premier League season on Sunday against relegation-threatened Leeds United.

Quadruple-chasing Liverpool have confirmed plans for an end-of-season victory parade the day after the Champions League final.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds do not yet know how many trophies they will finish the campaign with, but they have already secured the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

The Premier League could yet be added to that haul if Manchester City slip up on the final day of the season, while European glory is the target when Liverpool take on Real Madrid in a Paris final.

That showpiece match takes place on May 28, with Liverpool now intending to return home in time to celebrate their potentially historic season on May 29.

Liverpool Women will also be involved in the parade, having won the FA Women's Championship.

City mayor Joanne Anderson said: "We're delighted that we can now confirm the club will definitely parade around the city on May 29 – and I'm pleased we will be celebrating the achievements of both the men and women’s teams.

"A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes in preparation for an event of this size and scale, so it's fantastic that the city is now going to be able to experience this.

"Lifting the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup and the FA Women's Championship trophy is an incredible achievement that deserves to be acknowledged, and we have everything crossed that they won't be the only trophies they are lifting on the day!

"Whatever the outcome of the end of the season and the Champions League final, Liverpool FC and Liverpool FC Women have already done us proud, and we will give both teams the homecoming celebration they deserve."

With the parade set for 4pm local time, a Liverpool statement added the club would spend the morning of May 29 paying tribute to the 39 supporters who lost their lives in the Heysel Stadium disaster, of which it is the 37th anniversary.

Manchester City's dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid this season is apparently cause for another raid on the transfer market.

After already wrapping up Erling Haaland's transfer from Borussia Dortmund, the midfield is the next area of business.

With veterans in the midfield likely on their way out at the Etihad Stadium at this end of this season, replacements could soon be on the way.

TOP STORY – CITY EYE PHILLIPS AS FERNANDINHO REPLACEMENT 

Manchester City have emerged as contenders for the signature of Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to the Mirror.

While Manchester United have also identified Phillips as a potential addition for their midfield, the 26-year-old has reportedly made it clear to his inner circle that he will not join Leeds' fierce rivals.

However, Phillips would appear likely to leave Leeds if they are relegated, with West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle United all also linked.

Fernandinho will depart City at the end of the season, while Ilkay Gundogan could follow, and the £50million-rated Phillips is a more attainable target than £100m international team-mate Declan Rice.

ROUND-UP

– According to Bild, Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to move on a deal for Liverpool's Sadio Mane amid reports he is stalling on a renewal of his contract, which expires in 2023.

– Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has added Ajax's Lisandro Martinez to the list of players he wants to bring to Old Trafford, the Telegraph is reporting.

United have also shown renewed interest in Lazio and Serbia midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, per Calciomercato.

– Chelsea want to sign Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season, Mundo Deportivo reports.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said he is hopeful the takeover of the club will go through "as quickly as possible".

The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

The takeover, which promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, was expected to be completed later this month, but recent reports have suggested Roman Abramovich could scupper the deal by refusing to the sale structure.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of Chelsea's game with Leicester City, Tuchel simply said he wanted things to happen sooner rather than later.

"I'm aware [of the reports] but I've no new information," he said. "I've not been informed about the character of the issues that have arrived. So let's wait.

"I'm still convinced it's in good hands, not my hands. Hopefully, it will go through as quickly as possible."

Chelsea agonisingly lost the FA Cup final on Saturday to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, the second time they have been beaten in such fashion by the Reds having also been denied in the EFL Cup final in February.

However, Tuchel was keen to dismiss the idea that losing two shoot-outs makes the season a failure for his team, who also fell away in the Premier League title race after a run of games between December and January that saw them win only one of seven outings (D5, L1).

Chelsea will confirm third place in the league should they beat Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

"I refuse to judge the season by two penalty shoot-outs," Tuchel insisted. "If we won both, it would be one of the most successful seasons with four titles [after winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup].

"We lost two but it doesn't make it less impressive what the team put in. But we're the first to admit that it's not the same to play a final and win a final.

"So it's a bit of an imbalance judging the season given the circumstances. We struggled with corona, long-term injuries, a war that had a big effect on our club in particular.

"There's always room for improvement, but we arrived in this [FA Cup] with key players out, Mateo [Kovacic] and N'Golo [Kante] with only half a training session, with the club sanctions, there is a lot of things that are impressive. Hopefully, we can come third and that is progression.

"We maybe compete against the best teams to play in this league. So from there we go. There is no need to lose sleep and think we should've done this and this.

"There is a lot of ambition in us that we are not satisfied."

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