Riyad Mahrez’s stunning goal all but confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions (Picture: Getty)Manchester City retained the Premier League title with a crushing 4-1 victory over Brighton, condemning Liverpool to a runners-up finish despite amassing an astonishing 97 points.
The Champions League finalists set the tone for a seesaw afternoon when Sadio Mane opened the scoring after 17 minutes at Anfield.
Jordan Henderon played a neat one-two with assist machine Trent Alexnader-Arnold, and the rampaging full-back’s deflected cross fell perfectly for Mane, who calmly slotted home his 21st goal of the campaign.
Better was to follow for Jurgen Klopp’s side when, some 250 miles away, Glenn Murray met a Pascal Gross corner at the near post and flicked his header past a stranded Ederson.
Sadio Mane fired Liverpool ahead against Wolves in the 17th minute (Picture: Getty)
Glenn Murray had Anfield rocking after he put Brighton ahead against Manchester City (Picture: AP)City responded instantly, however, with the old double act of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, who lashed a low shot through the legs of Matt Ryan, restoring parity just 83 seconds after Murray’s opener.
That goal steadied City’s nerves and they made their territorial domination count seven minutes before the break when Laporte lost his marker Murray and powered the champions in front and back to the top of the league.
Sergio Aguero’s instant equaliser steadied Manchester City’s nerves at Brighton (Picture: Getty)
Aymeric Laporte’s bullet header put Man City in the lead seven minutes before half time (Picture: AP)Brighton, whose top flight safety was guaranteed last weekend following their spirited draw at Arsenal, struggled to gain a foothold in a second period dominated in its entirety by Guardiola’s well-oiled machine.
The City manager’s team selection raised eyebrows ahead of kick-off when he handed Ryiad Mahrez only his fourth start in the last 17 Premier League matches.
After delivering the corner from which Laporte put City in front, the Algeria international took matters into his own hand just past the hour mark when he twisted away from Lewis Dunk, shifted the ball onto his unfavoured right foot and powered his shot past Ryan to spark jubilant scenes in the away end.
And any hopes of a Brighton comeback were firmly extinguished 18 minutes from the end when Ilkay Gundogan bent an inch-perfect free-kick around the wall and into Ryan’s net to confirm City’s status as back-to-back champions.
At a subdued Anfield, meanwhile, Mane at least confirmed another victory for Klopp’s equally relentless side following another Trent Alexander-Arnold assist.
The Reds will have another shot at glory in next month’s Champions League final, but for now they must console themselves that, no matter how slim the margin, they have been second best to City this season.
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