Behind Steven Gerrard’s hat trick and Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera’s first half goals, Liverpool destroyed ten-man Aston Villa at Anfield Road, 5-0. Villa were reduced to ten-men only late in the game as keeper Brad Friedel was sent off in the 63rd minute. The complete and utter rout was a clear sign that the Reds do not believe they are yet out of the title race. The three points earned bring them within one of leaders Manchester United (who still have a game in hand) and increases the pressure as United have lost their past two, including a rout at the hands of Liverpool two weeks ago. Villa are ending their season in disastrous fashion, consistently losing ground in their chase for the final Champions League qualification. Still, they are in fifth place four points ahead of Everton for a UEFA Cup qualifying spot.
Elsewhere, Ben Watson scored in the 84th minute to send Wigan to victory at the JJB Stadium and back into seventh place. The victims were Hull City who remain in thirteenth position and just four points clear of relegation. While Wigan are unlikely to catch Everton, they are making their case as the most surprising club of the year with such a high position as seventh.
Finally, Manchester City continued their winning ways at Eastlands with a 1-0 win over Sunderland. Micah Richards scored in the 56th minute for City pushing them back ahead of Tottenham for tenth place. The Black Cats stay in fourteenth place though just three points clear of relegation.