London — Manchester City clinched the Premier League title with the win required to finally end Liverpool’s relentless attempt to dethrone them as champions by crushing Brighton 4-1 on the south-coast on Sunday.
City ended the season with 98 points, two shy of last season’s record-breaking 100, while Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield saw them finish on 97 — by far the largest tally for a Premier League runners-up spot. Such was Liverpool’s tenacity in the title race that it took an incredible 14th straight league victory for Pep Guardiola’s City to become the first club for a decade to retain the title.
Goals from Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Guendogan gave City a comfortable victory in the end after a brief moment of panic in the visiting ranks when Glenn Murray’s header gave Brighton a surprise 27th minute lead.
Argentine striker Aguero, whose last-gasp goal secured City’s first Premier League title in heart-stopping fashion seven years ago, levelled 83 seconds later and Laporte’s thumping header put City ahead before the break.
With Liverpool, who began the day one point behind, leading against Wolves, the Anfield club would still have hoped for something extraordinary to happen in the south-coast sunshine.
But when City winger Mahrez drove an unstoppable shot past Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan’s despairing dive just past the hour and Gundogan’s majestic free kick found the net in the 72nd minute the City fans could get the party started.
City have now won four league titles in eight seasons but captain Vincent Kompany, whose sublime shot earned a crucial 1-0 win over Leicester City on Monday to keep his side’s fate in their own hands, said this was the most satisfying of them all.
“Back to back, it was the hardest and most satisfying ever. Liverpool were exceptional this year. I don’t mean to rub it in — they didn’t deserve to lose,” Kompany said.
“But we played against such a good team all season and until now we were able to stay in front.”
Spaniard Guardiola can now became the first manager to claim the English domestic treble if City beat Watford in this Saturday's FA Cup final, having already scooped up the League Cup. Reuters