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Senegal's Mane double as Liverpool win but lose out on title

Reuters , Sunday 12 May 2019
Premier League - Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - May 12, 2019 Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ryan Bennet Reuters
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Liverpool's 29-year wait for a league title will continue after they had to settle for runners-up spot behind Manchester City despite Sadio Mane scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the Premier League season.

The victory for Juergen Klopp's side on Sunday became irrelevant to the title outcome as City won 4-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion to ensure their second straight league crown.

It will be hard to stomach for Liverpool after such an excellent campaign but Klopp's men, beaten just once in the Premier League this season, finished one point behind City with 97, a record total for a team coming runners-up.

The midweek drama of Liverpool's 4-0 win over Barcelona, ensuring a place in the Champions League final on June 1 against Tottenham Hotspur, removed much of the sense of disappointment from the day which ended with a lap of honour from the Liverpool players and their families.

But the day began with the possibility that a first title since 1990 could be secured if a remarkable week of football ended with another upset, this time at Brighton.

Liverpool certainly played like they believed that could happen, especially when Mane put Liverpool ahead in the 17th minute, meeting a low cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold and sweeping home from close range.

News of Brighton taking the lead against City, brought inevitable roars from the crowd and even with Pep Guardiola's side quickly replying, for 21 minutes until City got in front, Liverpool were temporarily in the top spot.

But as news of their rivals' progress at Brighton filtered through, Liverpool's intensity gradually faded.

Wolves keeper Rui Patricio was alert to keep out a 20-metre blast from left-back Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah volleyed over the bar from the edge of the area.

But after the break, it was the visitors who looked the more likely to add to the scoring, with Matt Doherty hitting the bar and, in the 69th minute, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson having to react quickly to foil Diogo Jota after a ball over the top

Liverpool eventually made sure of the win when Mane added his second in the 81st minute, again assisted by Alexander-Arnold whose deep cross was nodded home by the Senegalese at the back post.

Liverpool strikers Salah and Mane both ended the season on 22 goals, sharing the 'Golden Boot' award with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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