By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
A Sadio Mané brace earned Liverpool a 2-0 victory against Wolves in the glorious Anfield sunshine on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to secure the Premier League title as Manchester City also tasted victory away at Brighton.
The Seagulls gave City a scare and the Reds false hope early on as they took the lead through Glenn Murray, but Pep Guardiola’s side recovered to win the game 4-1 and secure league honours for the second-successive season.
In Merseyside, a goal in either half from the Senegalese forward made sure that Jurgen Klopp’s side earned the three points that were the minimum requirement on the day, and Reds fans can be proud of their team’s efforts this season that has seen them earn a record 97 points, but still no Premier League silverware.
“We shall not be moved” was the defiant cry from the Anfield faithful, as they whooped, cheered and applauded their team off the pitch.
The motives of Wolves captain, Liverpool fan and former Red Conor Coady were called into question before the game, but he showed right from the off that he was to do his former employers no favours – he won the toss and forced the home side to attack the Kop in the first half, even though they famously prefer to do so in the second.
Not much happened in the first 15 minutes, though the game was always threatening to boil over. It did so on 17 when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deflected cross was side-footed home from the edge of the six-yard box to relieve some of the tension at Anfield. The fullback had the advantage in his friendly assists competition with Andy Robertson, and Liverpool had the advantage in the push for the title.
The Scot – no doubt angered by this – unleashed a piledriver from 30 yards ten minutes later which was saved well by Rui Patricio. The crowd would still cheer for a goal, however, as news filtered through from the south coast that Brighton had taken the lead against Manchester City through Glenn Murray.
That lead would not last long, though, as moments later Sergio Aguero drew the visitors level and nerves took hold once again. Aymeric Laporte would soon put City ahead in that one putting them top of the table as things stood, but that mattered not for Liverpool as all they could do was focus on getting a result at Anfield.
Wolves grew into the game and caused the home side some problems towards the end of the period, but the Reds stood firm and took the slender 1-0 advantage into the break despite occupying only second place in the Premier League.
The second half began in much the same vein – the Reds looked flat and nervy whenever in possession and Wolves threatened more and more. Jurgen Klopp responded by sending James Milner on for Divock Origi and switching to a 4-4-2, but Manchester City doubled their lead against Brighton almost at the same time and Liverpool’s chance of winning the title had gone.
Anfield would have one more goal to cheer though, when Alexander-Arnold’s whipped cross from deep was met by Mané, who nodded home to draw himself level in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Minutes later, Virgil van Dijk would drop a header onto the crossbar to almost put the result beyond doubt. Reds fans would of course rue the overall outcome of the day, but can have no complaints about the professional performance they witnessed today.
Liverpool must now overcome this disappointment and regroup for June 1 when they travel to Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano to face off with fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for Champions League glory.