Liverpool can finally celebrate a return to the Champions League following Newcastle’s 3-3 draw with Southampton on Wednesday night.

The Reds are assured of a place in the qualifying round of next season’s Champions League after securing a fourth place Premiership finish with one game to spare.

Liverpool’s final game of the season against Newcastle on Saturday now counts for little after Bobby Robson’s men failed to pick up the three points they needed from St Mary’s to keep their bid alive.

Shola Ameobi gave the Geordies a dream start with an early opener, but an under strength Southampton side levelled through James Beattie. Before the end of an absorbing first half Lee Bowyer had regained the lead for Newcastle before Titus Bramble lashed one into his own net to level the scores at 2-2.

Southampton substitute Leandre Griffit gave the home side the lead for the first time with just three minutes left to play, and although Lauren Robert levelled the scores on the night with a last minute drive it counted for nothing in Newcastle’s bid to take the battle for fourth place down to Anfield on the last day of the season.

Barring a mathematical miracle (there would need to be a 13 goal turnaround between Liverpool and Aston Villa at the weekend), the Reds are back in the European big time.

Roll on next season!

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