01/05/2016 11:00 v Liverpool
A brace from Andre Ayew and a stunning Jack Cork strike saw Swansea City secure their Premier League status for another season with a deserved victory over ten-man Liverpool.
Ayew put the Swans ahead as he headed home a corner from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cork doubled the lead with a superb curling effort for his first goal of the campaign.
Liverpool halved the deficit midway through the second half through Christian Benteke’s goal, but Ayew made sure of the points with his second of the game just two minutes later.
The visitors, meanwhile, finished the game with a man less as Brad Smith was sent off for two bookable offences.
The victory means Swansea are guaranteed to be in the Premier League next season as Francesco Guidolin’s side moved up to 13th in the table.
Prior to kick-off at the Liberty Stadium, there was a minute’s applause as a tribute to the families and victims following the Hillsborough verdict, while captains Ashley Williams and Martin Skrtel laid a ’96’ wreath in front of the away supporters.
When the action got under way, Liverpool created the first half chance of the afternoon as Jordon Ibe’s cross from the left found Daniel Sturridge but he couldn’t direct his volley towards goal.
The Swans responded well and began to turn the screw on the Liverpool defence as Ayew teed up Sigurdsson inside the box but Swansea’s top scorer could only shoot straight at Danny Ward.
The hosts continued to pour forward as Ayew saw a shot deflect off Martin Skrtel before the Ghanaian volleyed well wide after getting the better of Dejan Lovren.
But the former Marseille man wasn’t to be denied as he deservedly broke the deadlock after 20 minutes.
From Sigurdsson’s inswinging corner on the left, Ayew rose highest to head home from six yards out and give Ward no chance in the Liverpool goal.
The visitors tried to respond as Ibe’s left-foot shot from the edge of the box was comfortably held by Lukasz Fabianski, but it was the home side who continued to dominate proceedings.
On 26 minutes a low cross from Neil Taylor found Cork unmarked 12 yards out and his low strike was brilliantly saved by the legs of Ward, before Jordi Amat somehow headed over from four yards after another fantastic delivery from Sigurdsson.
Liverpool’s young goalkeeper was again called into action on the half hour mark as he did well to parry Jefferson Montero’s effort, but the Welshman could do nothing three minutes later as Swansea doubled their lead.
After an initial attack broke down, Cork won possession midway inside the Liverpool half before striding forward unchallenged and curling a superb effort past Ward and into the top left-hand corner for his first goal of the campaign.
The visitors, however, did come close to halving the deficit before the break as Sturridge was played in by Sheyi Ojo and the England striker saw his audacious chip drop just wide of the far post.
Liverpool made a double substitution at the interval as Christian Benteke and Lucas Leiva were introduced in place of Philippe Coutinho and Pedro Chirivella.
And the second half began with the visitors seeing plenty of the ball in the Swans half, and they came mightily close to pulling a goal back shortly before the hour mark as a cross from the left was turned towards his own goal by Neil Taylor but fortunately it fell the right side of the post.
However, the Reds did halve the deficit midway through the second half courtesy of one of their half-time substitutes.
From Ojo’s inswinging corner on the right, Christian Benteke got the better of his marker to plant a firm header past Fabianski.
But just two minutes later the Swans’ two-goal was restored as Ojo failed to clear his lines in the Liverpool box and Ayew was on hand to turn the ball home for his second of the afternoon and 10th goal of the season.
That prompted Francesco Guidolin to make his first change of the afternoon as Jefferson Montero was replaced by Kyle Naughton.
But Liverpool’s afternoon went from bad to worse with 15 minutes remaining as they were reduced to ten men.
Already on a yellow card for a first-half caution, Smith caught Naughton with a high challenge as the defender looked to break away and referee Roger East had no hesitation in giving the youngster his marching orders.
With ten minutes to play, the visitors made their third and final change as Cameron Brannagan replaced Jordon Ibe, but it was the Swans who almost grabbed a fourth as Angel Rangel's shot could only find the side netting after a corner wasn't cleared by the Reds defence.
Jay Fulton came on in place of Leon Britton in the closing stages as the Swans went on to secure an impressive win to secure Premier League football in SA1 next season.
SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Angel Rangel, Jordi Amat, Ashley Williams (capt), Neil Taylor, Leon Britton (Jay Fulton, 90), Jack Cork, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero (Kyle Naughton, 72), Wayne Routledge, Andre Ayew.
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Federico Fernandez, Ki Sung-Yueng, Modou Barrow, Bafe Gomis.
LIVERPOOL: Danny Ward, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Philippe Coutinho (Christian Benteke, ht), Daniel Sturridge, Jordon Ibe (Cameron Brannagan, 80), Kevin Stewart, Martin Skrtel (capt), Brad Smith, Sheyi Ojo, Pedro Chirivella (Lucas Leiva, ht).
SUBS: Simon Mignolet, Adam Lallana, Joao Teixeira.