Well, it all came down to the final day.
The Premier League title rarely is decided on the final matchday of the season. It’s only fitting that two squads with the most memorable final matchday deciders in recent history, Liverpool (1989 vs Arsenal) and Manchester City (2012 with Sergio Aguerooooo’s 94th minute goal) had their title hopes hinge on the outcomes of Matchday 38.
Will Liverpool really finish with 97 points–third best total ever in EPL history–and miss out on a trophy? And should their fans care, given their epic comeback over Barcelona and trip to the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final?
The answers: Yes. And probably not. About those fans:
What an amazing group.
Anyway, the back and forth live futures during the game were bonkers. Liverpool started at +550 to win the title to Manchester City’s -750. From there:
|Liverpool Mane goal||City +340||Liverpool -390|
|Brighton goal||City -115||Liverpool +110|
|City Aguero goal (83 seconds later)||City -450||Liverpool +300|
|City Laporte goal||City -1350||Liverpool +900|
|City Mahrez goal||City -4000||Liverpool +1600|
|City Gundogan goal||Odds off the board|
Huge credit to Anfield. They were supportive throughout, closing the match with a full-throated “We shall not be moved.” 🙌🙌🙌🙌
Liverpool end the season with a 2-0 win, one loss for the season, and 97 points.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (8) – Got the line-up selection right, as the most in-form / deserving players got starts. Made the right decision by subbing out Origi (who was having a fine enough game) and bringing in Milner to crowd the midfield with a 4-4-2.
Alisson (8.5) – While under attack, not necessarily challenged until the 69th minute, coming off his line for an important save. Another big save in the 73rd. Finished the year with an EPL leading 21 clean sheets.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) – All TAA does is fire beautiful crosses. Gets the assist for Mane’s opener (UPDATE: actually wasn’t credited for the assist after a halftime examination…whatever…deserved it). Great deflection to close out and block a shot in the 55th. Got his assist though on the second Mane goal.
Virgil van Dijk (6.5) – Typical monster self on aerials, but saw himself under attack often after Liverpool went up 1-0.
Joel Matip (7) – A deserved final matchday start. Towards end of second half, was getting gashed, though headed away danger in the 45th. Utterly leveled Jota in the second half in a display of strength you don’t associate with Matip.
Andy Robertson (6.5) – Back in the line-up after a minor injury scare, great touch to the near-Salah goal. Another wonderful cross that Gini almost converted. Still, not his best all around game. Save that energy for the UCL finals.
Jordan Henderson (7) – So good closing the season. Henderson earns the hockey assist on Mane’s opener with a brilliant ball to TAA. Tracked back well in the 52nd minute to clear a dangerous cross.
Fabinho (8) – Is just a magnet for the ball. Always in the right spot. Some key tackles. It’s not just that Fabinho is a fulcrum of attack in his distribution, it’s the accuracy of his passes that stands out (over 90%).
Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – Finds his way back into the starting XI after his heroics on Tuesday. Was more noticeable / active early, with a key interception to stifle an attack in the 16th. Subbed off late for Ox.
DIVOCK ORIGI (6.5) – Divvy gets a well-deserved start in place of injured Roberto Firmino. Looked confident early, solid distribution and good runs. We’ve written it before, but Origi is just so damn strong. Where Firmino is solid on the ball due to superior balance, Origi’s simply solid. Wonderful pass to Mane and goal attempt in the 63rd before being subbed out for Milner.
Sadio Mane (9) – Clinical finish on the opening goal. Earned a brace with another header, tying him for the Golden Boot lead with Salah and Aubameyang.
Mohamed Salah (7) – Welcome back, Mo. After missing the Champions League semifinal match at Anfield with a concussion, Salah got to trade in his “Never Give Up” shirt for his red New Balance jersey today. Showed no ill-effects early. Cheeky and aware back flick in the 7th minute. Robbed of a goal in the 25th off a great strike and feed from Robbo. Kept fighting (for that Golden Boot) until the end of the game.
James Milner (7) – Came on for Origi to help control the Wolves attack, as Klopp shifted to a 4-4-2 with four midfielders. It worked.
Joe Gomez (NR) – Came on late to spell Andy Robertson.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (NR) – Came on late to rousing cheers for Gini.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Would’ve been Fabinho if not for the second Mane goal. Mane ties for the Golden Boot title with a brace, he earns it.