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‘We shall not be moved’ – Anfield’s defiant message on the last final-day title decider

There’s a sense of deja vu this weekend, as Liverpool and Man City fight it out for Premier League glory just as they did three years ago.

Doesn’t May 2019 feel like a lifetime ago now?

Covid was still roughly a year away, Harvey Elliott was still in school and the Reds were yet to win a trophy under Jurgen Klopp.

So much has happened since then, both in a footballing and non-footballing sense, with Liverpool finally winning the Premier League – not to mention lifting five other trophies along the way.

As the Reds and City go into the final weekend of 2021/22 almost neck-and-neck, memories of the same scenario happening three years ago have come flooding back.

Here we take a look back to the final day in 2018/19.

 

The final-day outlook

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 4, 2019: Liverpool's Divock Origi scores the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With 37 matches played, City and Liverpool went into their 38th and final fixture with 95 and 94 points, respectively.

That’s five points better off than this season, which speaks volumes about both sides’ level that campaign.

Divock Origi‘s dramatic late header at Newcastle had kept Jurgen Klopp‘s side in the fight, before Vincent Kompany’s winner at home to Leicester delivered the most painful punch to the gut imaginable.

The two rivals had produced remarkable levels of consistency going into the final day – City had won 13 league games in a row – as the Reds hosted Wolves and City headed to Brighton.

The sun was out, and much like this Sunday’s action, it had the potential to be dramatic.

 

Eighty-three seconds of pure joy!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: A Liverpool cheers his side on during the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While Liverpool ultimately didn’t end up winning the title, they will always have that one glorious minute or so that occurred when Brighton took the lead at the Amex.

Glenn Murray headed the Seagulls in front with 27 minutes on the clock – Sadio Mane had already put the Reds 1-0 up – and Reds fans rose in anticipation.

The roar inside Anfield when news emerged that City were losing clearly had an effect on the team, with play almost coming to a standstill and concentration momentarily lost.


Liverpool XI vs. Wolves: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Origi


In fact, such was the level of hysteria, some false information being fed to supporters from those not at the game claimed that Brighton had added a second.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool supporters check the score of the Brighton & Hove Albion versus Manchester City match on their smart phones during the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Just imagine!

Sadly, Liverpool could only bask in the glory for 83 seconds, as Sergio Aguero levelled the scores immediately.

It was a dispiriting moment, with the Reds badly in need of Brighton holding on for longer than roughly the 800-metre record!

 

City prevail

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 9, 2019: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Watford FC at City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As soon as City had equalised, it was hard not to feel a sense of inevitability about what would happen next, especially with Aymeric Laporte putting Pep Guardiola’s men in front before the break.

For Liverpool, it was still a case of getting their own job done, but there was no denying that the Anfield atmosphere was more muted in the second half.

Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan both found the net to put City in cruise control, effectively ending the Reds’ dream for another year, while Mane added a second late in the day against Wolves.

City beat Brighton 4-1. Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0. The title went to City.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

To finish on 97 points and not be champions felt cruel.

In most other eras, Liverpool would have cruised to glory, but they again had to settle for runner-up.

Some may point towards the away draws with weak Everton and Man United teams in the spring costing Liverpool, but they really couldn’t have done much more and were simply beaten by an equally special side.

 

“We shall not be moved”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool supporters celebrate 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers after the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By the time the Wolves game was in its final stages, Liverpool’s fans were back in great voice, accepting their fate and showing appreciation for the players on the pitch.

There was no sense of despair, but instead, a feeling that great memories were edging closer all the time under Klopp.

The manager himself said after the game that his side would become “one of the best to play for Liverpool ever,” telling fans: “We will go again, 100 percent.”

He wasn’t wrong, as always.

Liverpool’s efforts were applauded after the final whistle, as Klopp and his players did their customary lap of the pitch, but there was still another chapter to write in the season.

The small matter of a Champions League final meeting with Tottenham was on the horizon, after all.

The Reds prevailed against Spurs in Madrid, sealing Klopp’s first trophy as manager and erasing the heartbreak suffered in Kyiv just 12 months earlier.

In the three years since, the German has built a genuine Anfield dynasty, with an unprecedented quadruple still on offer in the week ahead.

There are certainly eery comparisons to be made between 2018/19 and 2021/22, in terms of the title race and a Champions League final to come, but could this season end with an even bigger triumph?

Stranger things have happened in football.

For Liverpool to be crowned champions, they need to enjoy an almost-perfect day, with everything that could possibly go wrong for City going wrong.

There’s the Steven Gerrard factor, though, not to mention Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings‘ past Reds allegiances, and football absolutely adores a narrative.

Let battle commence…

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