Liverpool did everything required of them on Sunday, but a 2-0 victory over Wolves was not enough to win the Premier League as Man City beat Brighton.
Liverpool 2-0 Wolves
Premier League, Anfield
May 12, 2019
Mane 17′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Mane 81′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
After a remarkable season of quality and consistency, it all fell to the final day as Liverpool hosted Wolves and, on the south coast, Brighton welcomed Man City to the Amex.
With City needing to drop points and his side needing victory to swing the title race in Jurgen Klopp‘s favour, the Reds knew all they could do was fight for the win at Anfield.
Klopp made two changes from the side that thrashed Barcelona in midweek, with Gini Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah returning to the fold, the latter following a mandatory break following concussion.
Their fate out of their hands, Liverpool took to the field to a rapturous reception from the Kop, and roared on throughout they produced a valiant effort but silverware eluded them.
- Klopp makes two changes as Gini and Salah return to starting lineup
- Mane opens scoring from Trent’s 16th assist of the season
- Three goals at the Amex give City 2-1 lead at half-time
- Mahrez and Gundogan net in second half at Brighton as Reds’ title hopes fade
- Mane adds another but victory not enough to win the Premier League
The Reds started brightly at Anfield, with Divock Origi patrolling up front and, full of confidence, feeding some promising balls through for Salah as the Egyptian King looked to impose himself.
It was Salah’s strike partner Sadio Mane who got Liverpool off the mark after 17 minutes, though, firing home Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s low cross to a thunderous roar.
Ten minutes later, Anfield erupted as Glenn Murray’s header gave Brighton the lead at the Amex, only for Sergio Aguero to restore parity soon after.
And then an Aymeric Laporte goal restored City’s control at the top of the table, with Liverpool then needing another from the Seagulls for any hope of lifting the title.
Though they held their lead heading into the break, surviving a Matt Doherty strike off the bar, the Reds returned to the dressing room second in the league.
Neither manager made any changes at half-time, with Klopp’s side likely learning the balance of the title race during their mid-game briefing, simply looking to get the job done as best they can.
As the pace slowed, the manager turned to his bench and introduced James Milner in place of Origi, as Liverpool switched to a 4-4-2 setup with Salah and Mane taking their places up front.
Either way, goals from Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan in Falmer gave City a commanding lead, effectively ensuring the title for Pep Guardiola’s side and a mere final-day procession for the Reds.
Mane added another with a fine header from Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant delivery from the right, bringing the No. 10 level with Salah and Arsenal‘s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the Golden Boot running.
Despite news of City making it 4-1 on the south coast, the Kop delivered a defiant message: “We shall not be moved” rung around Anfield as full-time approached.
It wasn’t to be for Liverpool at the end of an incredible season, but with a Champions League final to play and this side going nowhere, the future remains very, very bright on Merseyside.
See you in Madrid.
* Additional reporting by ISNTV.
TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (Gomez 84′); Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum (Oxlade-Chamberlain 88′); Salah, Mane, Origi (Milner 64′)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Lovren, Shaqiri, Sturridge
Wolves: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty (Adama 80′), Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 84′), Jonny (Vinagre 84′); Jimenez, Jota
Subs not used: Ruddy, Kilman, Cavaleiro, Costa
Next Match: Spurs (N) – Champions League Final – Saturday, June 1, 8pm (BST)