Manchester City Football Club clinched another Premier League title on Sunday by beating hosts Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 on the final day of the season.
Despite beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0, Liverpool needed City to lose or draw to stand a chance at the title, which it last claimed 29 years ago.
The defending champions took a hard hit when Brighton’s Glenn Murray netted a close-range header at the 27th minute.
City, however, wasted no time and reciprocated a minute later with Argentine striker Sergio Aguero putting the Citizens back in the title race.
Centre-back Aymeric Laporte gave the guests the lead at the 38th minute after heading in a corner by Algerian playmaker Riyadh Mahrez.
In the second half, two goals by Mahez and Ilkay Gundogan ensured that City finished top of the table.
Spanish manager Pep Guardiola’s City ended the season with 98 points, two shy of last season’s record-breaking 100.
“We have to say congratulations to Liverpool and thank you because they pushed us to increase our standard,” said Guardiola, who now has two league titles with City to go with the three he won in charge of both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The quality and intensity of the title race was emphasized by City requiring a 14th successive league victory to finish just one point above Liverpool.
“As long as City are around, with the quality and financial power, it’s not easy that any other team will pass them. That is clear,” said the Reds’ German coach Jurgen Klopp. “We have to be very close to perfection to win the Premier League.”
Liverpool, which lost just once all season on January 3 against City, will take solace in the tally of 97 – a record total for a team coming runners-up – and will now turn its attention to next month’s UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur.
“Ultimately, Jurgen Klopp has done a job that people have considered extremely good, but he hasn’t got his hands on any silverware,” said Al Jazeera’s Lee Wellings, reporting from Anfield Stadium in Liverpool.
“So it puts a huge importance after his three-and-a-half years in charge on that Champions League final at the start of June.”
Wellings said it was the unexpected 4-0 victory last week against Barcelona that raised people’s hopes that Liverpool would be able to win the Premier League title.
“We only lost one game all season,” striker Mohamed Salah said. “We gave everything. We got 97 points. We will fight next season for the title.”
Sunday’s victory takes City’s total tally of trophies to six.