Liverpool 2-0 Wolves: Mane double secures win but 29 year wait for league title goes on
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Liverpool 2-0 Wolves: Mane double secures win but 29 year wait for league title goes on

Sadio Mane scored twice to down Wolves but it wasn't enough as Liverpool became the Premier League's greatest runner-up.

Joshua Kerr
Liverpool FCAlisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (Gomez 84), Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum (Oxlade-Chamberlain 88), Salah, Mane, Origi (Substituted for Milner 64).
Wolverhampton WanderersPatricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty (Traoré 80), Neves, Moutinho (Gibbs-White 84), Dendoncker, Castro Otto (Vinagre 84), Jota, Jimenez.
SCORE1-0, Min.17, Mane, 2-0, Min.81, Mane

And so, 29 years without an English championship at Anfield goes on. However, this is no time to for sorrow or dread. This was a collective feeling of immense pride. 

Liverpool end the league season on 97 points - bettering the total tallies of 116 out of the previous 119 champions. They are unbeaten at home for a second successive top-flight term for the first time since 1979-80. The Reds posted their best defensive in the Premier League era and also have the small matter of a Champions League final in Madrid in 20 days time. 

Despite this though, the Premier League crown continues to elude them. It's rather unfortunate that Liverpool's greatest assembled side in nearly 30 years are up against arguably the competition's greatest ever team whilst being managed by one of the very best the game has ever seen. 198 points over two seasons for Manchester City is extraordinary and that is what Liverpool are up against. They were more than worthy champions.

The story of the game

Only a few goals have had a more electric effect on the Anfield faithful as the one Glenn Murray struck for Brighton and Hove Albion at 3:27 pm on Sunday afternoon to temporarily put the title in Liverpool's hands. At first, the home crowd couldn't quite comprehend what was going on. Many appeared exasperated and continuedly refreshed their social media timelines. As friends consulted, the roar surrounding Merseyside grew and grew.

It was quite an astonishing scene to see the bemusement on the player's faces following the news that Brighton's lead against the champions was confirmed. In the directors' box, you could spot a perplexed John Barnes celebrating wildly with Ian Rush

However, much to Liverpool's delight that they were temporarily on top with about 65 minutes of football left in the season, little did they know that moments later Sergio Aguero was steering in to equalise. 

In fairness, you barely had time to breathe before the Citizens had regained control of proceedings. It was that kind of afternoon at Anfield. After hoping that a monumental triumph over Barcelona in midweek could inspire another miracle on Merseyside. In the end, it just about took the edge off the emotion on a day where Liverpool became the Premier League's greatest ever runners-up.

The atmosphere never seemed the same after Aguero secured another dramatic strike on the final day of the season. The sheer bedlam and delight that engulfed Anfield was crushingly extinguished before it even got started. It felt a familiar pain that once again Liverpool would renew their status as the bridesmaids of the competition.

The performance also felt like an undercard compared to the main event at the Amex stadium. Wolverhampton were in the ascendancy and preyed on the Reds legginess despite being a goal behind. By the end of the half, Liverpool had looked no closer to adding to the opener from Sadio Mane after the Senegalese ace pounced on another assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right wing.

Wolves taunted the home fans singing “You f----- it up again” into the contemplative hum around Anfield. The visitors even had chances to further dampen the mood surrounding Anfield. Alisson Becker was immense yet again to twice deny Diogo Jota in the last 20 minutes as well as secure the Premier League Golden Glove. Liverpool attempted to lighten the atmosphere but Wolves continued with their best efforts to cause a sting against the big-six mocking the hosts with songs of “Raheem Sterling, he’s top of the league”

It proved ineffective in the end after Alexander-Arnold made it 13 league assists to gift Mane his second of the game and take the forward level among the Premier League-leading goalscorers on with his teammate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, all with 22 league goals. 

Anfield emerged in defiance following Mane's second and the crowd were lifted to their feet once the curtain was finally lifted on another truly magnificent season for Jurgen Klopp and his players. The reality was accepted and it was one that will certainly hurt. What more must Liverpool do to finally put aside their league demons? This though is a question that will not concern the team with another Champions League final awaiting them. The wait goes on but there is a growing belief that this team are so agonisingly close to pursuing their dream.