Liverpool 2-0 Wolves: Premier League – as it happened

Two goals from Sadio Mané took Liverpool to 97 points but Manchester City’s win at Brighton denied a first title in 29 years

And that’ll do. Another Premier League season is over. Three months until the next one, and we’ve only got the FA Cup final, the Champions League final, the Europa League final, the Football League play-offs, the Nations League, the Women’s World Cup, the European Under-21s and the Copa America to tide us over. How will we cope?

Clinical.

More Kloppo:

“This team is one of the best to ever play for Liverpool, 100 per cent. But we play in a league with other good teams. We will go again.”

Ach, are you sure about that choice of words, Jurgs?

Mo Salah speaks:

“We did everything. We lost only one game in the season. I say to Manchester City congratulations, but we will be back next season.”

Just to repeat, Liverpool and Manchester City played 18 games between them from the second week in March, won them all, scored 44 goals, conceded ten and trailed in games for roughly 41 minutes.

Jurgen Klopp speaks:

“I know people will find always something [we could’ve done more]. We had lucky moments, City had lucky moments, so to get 97 points is not always about outplaying opponents. When your opponents are City, it’s difficult: we couldn’t get rid of them, they couldn’t get rid of us. This is a first step, that’s how we see it: it’s the majority of players that we had last season, so if we take the same step again...what a season that will be.

“The same again all the time. In the past, always when I had a successful team the players were picked off - that won’t happen this time. There isn’t anyone crying here. You always use one step as the basis for the next step.”

Klopp dons his cap to the fans.
Klopp dons his cap to the fans. Photograph: Dave Thompson/AP

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Vinny Kompany has some words for his vanquished opponents.

“I think it was the hardest and most satisfying. Liverpool were exceptional. There didn’t deserve to be a loser. But I’m so happy for the team. We’ve got an incredible desire.”

From the Anfield press room...

For any Liverpool fan who needs cheering up...

Good lord, imagine getting 97 points and that not being enough. Mercy me.

Here’s Daniel Taylor’s match report from Anfield.

90 days until the start of the Premier League season.

Salah celebrates with his daughter Makka and his wife Magi.
Salah celebrates with his daughter Makka and his wife Magi. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

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Not that it will mean a great deal to them but the win today ensures that with 97, Liverpool have the third-best points total in Premier League history and, adjusting for 38-game, three-points for a win seasons, the third best in English top flight history. They have also eclipsed the record for the top five European leagues too, nudging ahead of the 96 Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Madrid got in 2009 when they finished second to Barcelona, managed by...Pep Guardiola.

It’s worth pointing out that Liverpool have - nearly - overturned a 25-point gap on City this season. They go onto Madrid, without a league title for yet another year.

So Manchester City are the first team since Manchester United in 2008-09 to retain the Premier League title. They had to beat the best Liverpool team in a generation, and in the end only did so by a point. What an incredibly high standard the top two have been this season.

Full-time: Liverpool 2-0 Wolves - Liverpool finish second

They did pretty much all they could...

Liverpool fans show their support after they finish second in the league.
Liverpool fans show their support after they finish second in the league. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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90min + 2: A Liverpool fan rather mournfully lets off a red smoke thing in the Kop...

90 mins: Two minutes of added time to come...

89 mins: A bit of a side issue, but with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Mane netting today, we’re on for a three-way tie for the Golden Boot with Salah. All are on 22...

88 mins: Final change for Liverpool, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for Wijnaldum.

87 mins: Jimenez tries to turn provider by making tracks to the byline and cutting back towards Dendoncker, but Milner is there to intercept. Liverpool go up the other and and chisel out a half-chance, but Salah’s low shot had barely any power and is easily saved.

86 mins: “The league season is 53 minutes too long,” writes Matt Dony.

84 mins: Subs all around: Moutinho and Johnny are both off for Wolves, replaced by Ruben Vinagre and Morgan Gibbs-White. Meanwhile Andy Robertson goes off, and Joe Gomez comes on.

83 mins: Van Dijk hits the bar! A big cross comes over from the right, he’s there at the far post with a looping header, but it flicks the top of the woodwork.

81 mins: Great goal. Alexander-Arnold absolutely Alexander-Arnolds a cross from deep on the right, Mane breaks beyond the defence (with a hint of offside, actually) and glances his header into the net.

GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Wolves (Mane 81)

A goal against the run of play...

Mane scores Liverpool’s second.
Mane scores Liverpool’s second. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
And celebrates his second.
And celebrates his second. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

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80 mins: Alexander-Arnold booms over a corner from the right, but it’s misdirected and is headed clear at the far post.

79 mins: Sub for Wolves, as the terrific Doherty is replaced by Adama Traore.

76 mins: Cruel? Yes. Funny? Also yes.

74 mins: A rare Liverpool attack. Or two of them, really: Mane feeds Salah in the area, but he tries a shot on the spin that he was never going to get enough power on. Then Robertson crosses to Wijnaldum at the back post, but the angle was too tight and he volleys into the side-netting.

73 mins: Game absolutely over.

72 mins: Wolves go close again, as Jota nips behind the defence and heads at goal, but Alisson is there again. He’s been Liverpool’s best player today, which is unexpected to say the least.

Jota heads at goal, but Alisson has it covered.
Jota heads at goal, but Alisson has it covered. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

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69 mins: Doherty skims a long pass over the top looking for Jimenez, leaving Matip in his dust, but the tired defence are saved by Alisson who comes off his line quickly and smothers the effort. There are a lot of Liverpool players out there, if you’ll excuse the expression, blowing out of their arses.

66 mins: Wolves really should be level. Jimenez is fed by Doherty but skews his effort wide. Liverpool are genuinely hanging on at this stage.

64 mins: That’s Origi’s last act of the game, as Milner comes on in his place.

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63 mins: Origi misses a huge chance! Mane chases the ball down the left of the area, he crosses towards the Belgian which is half cut-out, it loops up in the air and drops to Origi who volleys, but just over the bar.

61 mins: James Milner is prepping to come on. If any Liverpool fan wants something to cheer them up, with the title looking unlikely, they can find it in Manchester, where United are losing 2-0, and pretty shambolically by the sounds of things.

59 mins: Jota lays the ball off to Jimenez on the right side of the box, but with men in the middle and Doherty overlapping at pace, he tries an implausible shot that he skews into the Kop.

56 mins: Jon Brown writes with a nomination for quote of the day: “In a pub in Liverpool, obviously in a Scouse accent: ‘That ten seconds when we won the league was f**king brilliant.’”

54 mins: Doherty does exactly the same thing again, this time the pass reaching Johnny, who shoots but it’s blocked. If Klopp did give his boys a thrashing at half-time, it hasn’t worked: they look really flat, which is hardly surprising given the week they’ve had.

51 mins: The ever-excellent and ever-threatening Doherty gets down the right and pulls a cross back towards the edge of the box, but Fabinho - as he has done a couple of times - is there to intercept.

50 mins: Another booking as Jota gets a metaphorical clip round the ear for two fouls inside about 30 seconds.

49 mins: Mane breaks at pace down the left channel but is rather cynically felled by Bennett, who gets the proper punishment.

Bennett takes down Mane.
Bennett takes down Mane. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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48 mins: Alexander-Arnold lines up a free-kick from a slightly unlikely angle on the right, curls it round the wall, but without enough bend on it to go inside the post.

47 mins: “If things stay as they are, maybe there’s a sad lesson about the nature of free market capitalism here,” writes David Parnell. “No matter how hard you work and how much you dig in, the rich will always have the advantage...”

I appreciate the point, but let’s not cast Liverpool as the little engine who could, here. They’ve been absolutely remarkable this season, but have spent significant sums of money, even if some of that was self-generated.

46 mins: We’re away. 45 minutes of the season remains.

The players are back out for the second half, and I do not believe there are any subs for either side.

“When City have dropped points this season, they have conceded first...now where did I put those straws?” grasps Stephen Beament.

I’d wager that Klopp is giving his players a bit of a rocket at the break. They weren’t at it in the last 15-odd minutes of the half, and he was increasingly irked as half-time approached.

Banter central.

Meanwhile, if you’re after some lovely pictures, give the Guardian Sport Instagram account a follow.

So, as things stand, Manchester City are champions. By all accounts they’re looking pretty good at the Amex so anything Liverpool do here is moot, but they had hope for a little while there. And it may yet return...

As soon as the half-time whistle goes Klopp absolutely bolts down the tunnel - genuinely, sprinting at full pelt - so either he had a toilet emergency or is off to smash every single TV, radio and phone in Anfield.

Half-time: Liverpool 1-0 Wolves

Peeeeeeeeeeeeep.

45 mins: Wolves have most certainly been the better team in at least the last 10 minutes, perhaps even since news of the goals at Brighton filtered through.

44 mins: Doherty hits the bar! They sweep a move from left to right across the edge of the box, Jota plays in Doherty and he sidefoots an effort past Alisson, but it hits the bar and goes over.

Alisson dives asDoherty hits the bar.
Alisson dives asDoherty hits the bar. Photograph: David Blunsden/Action Plus via Getty Images

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42 mins: Salah goes down on the edge of the area but even the Kop’s protests are a bit half-hearted. Meanwhile, the other games might not have anything riding on them, but the goals are flying in. Daniel Harris has details.

40 mins: “Way back through the mists of time,” writes Matt Dony. “I’m pretty sure I can remember when I started watching football. And I’m sure I started because it was ‘Fun’. This is not fun. Not at all.”

39 mins: Salah looks convinced he has to win this on his own for Liverpool. He gets the ball outside the area, drives forwards but takes a heavy touch when there were passes available, and the chance goes.

Salah controls the ball in the air.
Salah controls the ball in the air. Photograph: Iain Watts/Mercury Press Media/REX/Shutterstock

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38 mins: And the mood dampens a little as news of another goal at Brighton filters through...

37 mins: Wolves are still attacking with intermittent threat. Klopp, who looks pretty agitated, screams at his players.

36 mins: Bennett takes a long throw from the right, trebuchets it into the area where Boly wins the flick-on, but Jimenez can’t get a convincing effort on goal.

34 mins: From the corner, the ball drops to Salah on the edge of the box, but his body shape was all wrong for the volley and he sends it high, high, high over the bar.

Salah hits the volley high.
Salah hits the volley high. Photograph: David Blunsden/Action Plus via Getty Images
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33 mins: Wijnaldum crosses from the left and Bennett blocks it. There’s a claim for a penalty but while there might have been just a hint of an arm involved, it was mainly his torso and any decision would have been the harshest of the harsh.

31 mins: PH quite rightly corrects me on something: “Wolves attacking with a bit of freedom now, as they probably should given that any result makes two-fifths of eff-all difference to them.’

‘I disagree: we must stop Liverpool winning the League to get our place in Europe!!!’

30 mins: A long, arrowed, skimmed diagonal pass from Coady (I think) nearly has Liverpool in some trouble, with Jota and Johnny having found some space just behind the defence, but the former jumps to flick on and take it away from the latter...

29 mins: Tension, eh? Liverpool fans are half watching the game, half staring at their phones. Of course as things stand Liverpool are still champions....but, again, a long, long way to go....

Liverpool fans check their mobile phones for updates.
Liverpool fans check their mobile phones for updates. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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28 mins: Another goal in Brighton...

26 mins: BUT THEY HAVE NOW! HOLY HELL!

25 mins: Oh boy. Fans all around Anfield start cheering in the manner of people who have heard good news elsewhere, but Brighton have not scored...

24 mins: Robertson hits an absolute rasper from way outside the area but Patricio beats it away.

Robertson hits one from distance.
Robertson hits one from distance. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

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23 mins: Apparently the crowd at Brighton are making everyone very aware that Liverpool have scored. So much for Pep Guardiola and pals trying to keep that one quiet.

21 mins: Wolves attacking with a bit of freedom now, as they probably should given that any result makes two-fifths of eff-all difference to them. Dendoncker tries a cross from the left but there’s far too much on it.

19 mins: Actually looking at the replay of the goal Mane was in such space because Bennett slipped over in the area. A combination of good play and a very slight bit of good luck.

17 mins: Simple stuff really. Henderson plays a nice reverse pass down the line to Alexander-Arnold, who crosses low to the edge of the six yard box where Mane finds himself in space, and has time to slam a relatively simple finish in. City are still level at Brighton so Liverpool top the table, although, obviously, there is a long, long, long way to go...

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Wolves (Mane 17)

AS THINGS STAND LIVERPOOL ARE CHAMPIONS....

Mane of Liverpool scores the opener.
Mane of Liverpool scores the opener. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
And celebrates.
And celebrates. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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16 mins: Wolves have a sniff of an attack down the left, with Johnny making tracks, but his pass inside is swooped upon, like a handsome eagle, by Wijnaldum.

15 mins: All pretty sedate here. Perhaps not a huge surprise given the physical and mental toll of the other night at Anfield, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was part of the plan, just to calm everyone down a little bit.

13 mins: “It’s not only the Liverpool fans who are entitled to be nervous,” writes Peter Higginson. “The destiny of Europa League football for Wolves is also at stake as we must hope Liverpool and Watford get beat so Man City win both League and FA Cup to get us a place in Europe 2019/20. As we have had no success in the top flight since the 70s, I am clinging to the edge of my sofa in anticipation.”

12 mins: Liverpool waste a free-kick from the left. They’ve looked comfortable so far without creating anything. Wolves are sitting very deep and most definitely playing 5-3-2.

10 mins: If anyone is struggling with nerves, I can recommend following the Twitter account Footballers With Animals. It really is very soothing.

9 mins: Alexander-Arnold flicks in a cross after cutting in from the right, Mane tries to hold it up and lay off to Robertson, but the pass goes askew.

7 mins: Liverpool work the ball to Henderson on the right side of the box, via a choppy little run from Salah, but his clipped cross to the back stick is too heavy and drifts away from danger.

6 mins: “Oh god my nerves are shot,” whimpers Anthony. “I’m on the plane to Dublin and the reality is when I next turn my phone on we will either be going for the double or just the Champions League final. I’m wondering if it’s ok to ask for updates from the pilot.”

4 mins: First shot on target for Liverpool, as Origi collects a long ball over the top from Matip and hooks an effort from the right side of the area, but Patricio was there to gather easily enough.

Origi has a pop.
Origi has a pop. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

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3 mins: Jota, one of the players of the post-Christmas season, harries Fabinho, but the Brazilian keeps things under control and knocks the ball back to Matip.

1 min: We’re off. Liverpool are on the attack straight away, but Jonny Otto mops up. It’s a rollercoaster for David Whitfield: “On a plane to Amsterdam, so a little insulated from the action - but surprisingly relaxed, or sh*tting myself. It varies...”

Big news: Liverpool are kicking towards the Kop IN THE FIRST HALF. Bad news for the superstitious.

The players are in the tunnel. Virgil van Dijk looks like he’s contemplating the journey from his couch to the kitchen to make a brew, not a game that could potentially win Liverpool their first league title in a generation.

The managers embrace prior to kick-off.
The managers embrace prior to kick-off. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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How are your nerves then, Liverpool fans? Emails to Nick.Miller.casual@theGuardian.com, or tweet @NickMiller79.

Win lose or draw, Jurgen Klopp reckons this season has gone better than anyone could have expected, as Rich Jolly relays to us here.

Jürgen Klopp feels his reign at Liverpool has gone better than even an optimist like him could have expected. “I don’t think I would have believed it but I am not a very negative person,” the manager said. “I would not have thought it was possible being three times in a European final and twice in a Champions League final. That is something nobody could have said four years ago. That is really special.”

Here’s Jonathan Wilson on this season’s relentless finale.

Daniel Taylor’s column this week ponders the question: if this Liverpool team can’t beat the money and skill of Manchester City, who can?

In the Observer today, there have been the fans’ verdicts from the season about to end, in two parts. Happily, because of the alphabet, Liverpool and Wolves are in the same part, here.

Here’s Jurgen Klopp: “All of them. It’s a long season. It you felt extremely fresh that would not be normal. We have to fight, we have to create, because Wolves are so good. They play different to every other team in the Premier League. Everyone talks about the City game, the final day, but we have to win the game.”

He also says he won’t be tracking events in Brighton. And if you believe that, I would like to introduce myself, the Wallet Inspector. Won’t take long...

Richard South has an email about the toughness of Liverpool’s task this season: “Any thoughts on Liverpool’s task being made harder by having intense rivalries with other clubs, more so than City? Not sure if this is a valid theory, but am thinking of the dropped points in the away games to Man Utd and Everton, both of whom they’re currently markedly better sides than. The way Utd in particular (both team and crowd) galvanized themselves to grind out a draw against Liverpool seemed very different to their fairly meek performance against City a few weeks ago. There’s also more recent history / rivalry with Chelsea too (more dropped points, away) whereas it seems like no one - as in other teams/fans - is really too bothered if City win the title again. Having said that, it’d be sensational if Brighton can pull off a performance to match West Ham vs Utd in 1995; where’s Ludek Miklosko when you need him?!”

Let us sit upon the ground and tell stories about final day drama from the past. Here’s Stuart James with tales from five of them.