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Published: 13:55 | 1/5/16

Swansea ease past under-strength Liverpool

Defeat ends Merseysiders' CL hopes

Liverpool's outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League by coming in the top four positions is over after they were easily beaten 3-1 at Swansea.

Andre Ayew's brace ultimately proved the difference as the Swans secured the points which mathematically guarantees their Premier League survival.

The attacker's header put the Welsh side ahead on 20 minutes before a lovely Jack Cork goal ensured they headed into the half-time break two goals clear.

Christian Benteke headed home to give Jurgen Klopp's side hope but Ayew grabbed his second soon after to quash any hopes of a comeback.

Australian Brad Smith was dismissed soon after for a second bookable offence to cap off a miserable afternoon for the visitors who never got going three days after their Europa League semi-final defeat to Villareal.

The Swans move up to 13th in the table and now cannot be caught by third-from-bottom Sunderland, ensuring another year of Premier League football at the Liberty Stadium.

For Liverpool though, Thursday's second leg against Villareal will now make or break their season.

In truth Klopp recognised this as such by making eight changes to his side which last to that injury-time Lopez goal at El Madrigal with the side boasting an average age of just 23.

Liverpool had fielded a similar line-up last month after their Europa exertions, beating Bournemouth away from home with an exciting performance.

However, this was a chastening experience for some with 18-year-old Pedro Chirivella replaced at the break and Brad Smith dismissed near the end for receiving a second yellow card.

Swansea were a cut above throughout and despite Benteke's header giving them some hope, it was quickly extinguished by the impressive Ayew's second goal.

Surprisingly it was the first occasion in which the hosts had scored three times in the same league game and they will look to build on what has been a satisfying end to an uncomfortable season in which their prospects of earning a sixth successive campaign in the top flight looked fraught at one stage.

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