Late Graham strike sinks Reds
Reds end the season with defeat
Last Updated: May 13, 2012 5:48pm
Ashley Williams clashes with Andy Carroll
Swansea ended the season in style with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium.
Danny Graham's goal four minutes from time gave Swansea all three points to ensure Liverpool finish with their lowest points tally in the Premier League since the 1998/99 season.
The game looked set to end goalless until Angel Rangel picked out Graham inside the box and he fired his shot past Alexander Doni.
Doni and his opposite number Michel Vorm were in fine form with the Liverpool keeper denying Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nathan Dyer in the first half and his Swansea counterpart Vorm producing two great stops to deny Andy Carroll in the second half.
It was another demoralising afternoon for Kenny Dalglish's side, and will have done little to lift the pressure on the Scot after a thoroughly disappointing league campaign.
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers had encouraged the home fans to turn up in Elvis Presley costumes to celebrate their survival.
And the joyous atmosphere seemed to inspire them as they bossed the opening exchanges, with Liverpool barely having a kick.
Graham came close to giving them an eighth-minute lead but could not convert Joe Allen's cross-shot after the midfielder had robbed Jonjo Shelvey.
Carroll's afternoon had started ignominiously by misdirecting an attempted flick-on straight in the air, and then being beaten by Vorm as he closed the Swansea keeper down.
And his overhit pass back into defence was picked up by Doni, prompting referee Mark Halsey to award Swansea an indirect free-kick inside the box, but Scott Sinclair's shot was well blocked.
Maxi Rodriguez was off target with a half-hearted effort for the visitors but the majority of the action was taking place in the Liverpool half.
Sigurdsson was left unmarked at a corner and almost swept home from Allen's pinpoint delivery but his effort was bravely blocked by the onrushing Liverpool defence.
Shelvey threatened at the other end but his on-target effort was blocked away by Ashley Williams' head.
Sigurdsson was brilliantly denied by Doni in the 32nd minute, as the Iceland international intelligently struck a free-kick across the Liverpool wall, but the Brazilian showed lightning reactions to tip the ball round the post.
Carroll wasted Liverpool's best chance when he fired narrowly over Vorm's bar five minutes before the break, while Dyer did the same for Swansea at the other end as Doni blocked his strike after being played in by Sigurdsson.
Carroll's increasing frustration was clear to see and he was involved in a tussle with Williams at the end of the opening half after objecting to the defender's challenge, which earned the pair bookings.
Dalglish had his players out very early for the second half but any strong half-time words appeared to have little effect as Swansea again set about their familiar possession style.
Dyer failed to make the most of good link work with Rangel when he dallied after being picked out by the Spaniard's low pass.
Liverpool began to assert themselves as Carroll's far-post header diverted to safety off Steven Caulker's back, before the England forward produced a brilliant overhead kick that Vorm matched with a superb agile stop to his right.
Carroll's central role in proceedings continued as his clumsy defensive clearance almost allowed Rangel to poke home, before Caulker wastefully headed over from the resulting corner.
Swansea showed signs of fading as the game entered its final 20 minutes, and Vorm made another sharp save from Carroll's low shot after a bright run from substitute Dirk Kuyt.
But the hosts struck to find the winner as Rangel and Sinclair linked on the right and Graham converted coolly for his 14th goal of the season.
|Swansea City||Team Statistics||Liverpool|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||5|
|65.9||1st Half Poss.||34.1|
|59.4||2nd Half Poss.||40.6|
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Everton3 - 1Newcastle
Man City3 - 2QPR
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