Manchester City got a scare on Sunday when it went down a goal against Brighton in the final match of the Premier League season. But the Sky Blues roared back to win, 4-1, holding off second place Liverpool — which beat Wolverhampton in its own 2018-19 finale — to capture its second consecutive English title and fourth in the last eight years.
City and Liverpool went into the last weekend knowing exactly what was at stake. With the former ahead by a single point, only a win at Brighton would be enough to guarantee that Pep Guardiola’s men defended their crown. Meantime, for long suffering Liverpool to hoist the trophy for the first time in 29 years, Jurgen Klopp’s side would have to top Wolves and hope that the Cityzens slipped up.
With the two games (as well as the Prem’s eight others) kicking off simultaneously, the drama would play out over 90 minutes. It didn’t disappoint. Liverpool struck early at Anfield through Sadio Mane, putting the Reds temporarily ahead in the live table:
Things got really interesting about 10 minutes later when, some 200 miles away in Brighton, Glenn Murray headed the Seagulls into the lead. The strike meant that if Liverpool remained ahead in its match, City would need to score twice to retain its title:
The intrigue didn’t last. Sergio Aguero evened things up almost immediately for the visitors, killing Brighton’s momentum flat and restoring a sense of inevitability to the proceedings:
City, however, still needed another goal. Once again, they didn’t have to wait long for it to arrive. French defender Aymeric Laporte was the hero this time, powering home what would stand up as the title-winning tally seven minutes before halftime:
City added some breathing room with two more goals in the second half through Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gündogan. It was a remarkable conclusion to the most exciting season in recent Premier League history.
The race seemed wide-open early on, with City, Liverpool and Tottenham all in the mix. The Reds held a 10 point league atop the table just after Christmas, but City slowly closed the gap as Spurs eventually fell away. With the Sky Blues having a game in hand, the two leaders traded the top spot almost every weekend. Neither team dropped a single point over the last two months.
City took the title with perhaps the deepest squad the Prem has ever seen, but Liverpool rode them all the way to the bitter end. For Klopp and Co., there’s still plenty to play for, though, as the Reds will take on Tottenham in next month’s Champions League final in Madrid to cap a season in which the Premier League reestablished itself as the world’s best. And Manchester City, once again, is its champion.
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