Liverpool’s bid for a first Premier League title and a first top-flight triumph in 29 years ended in failure despite a final-day victory over Wolves.
In the ‘as it stands’ table, the Reds were top for 21 first-half minutes, only for Manchester City to recover from falling behind at Brighton to record a convincing 4-1 victory.
Sadio Mane scored from close range after 17 minutes and again after 81 to join Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Premier League’s top scorer on 22 goals.
Liverpool keeper Allison was confirmed as the Golden Glove winner with 21 clean sheets
The victory was Liverpool’s ninth in a row and their 30th overall. They finished on 97 points, the third-highest top flight total in English football history.
The arrival of the Liverpool team bus has become an event in itself.
Half an hour before it turned onto Anfield Road, thousands were on the street waiting for its arrival. Supporters in the hospitality areas at the top of the magnificent new main stand looked down onto a sea of red, numerous flares going off as Jurgen Klopp and his side turned slowly left and drove into the stadium, the smoke clogging the air in unison with the songs being belted out.
Many of those fans were either not alive, or old enough to remember the last time Liverpool were champions. The banner that was slowly handed across the lower tier of the Kenny Dalglish Stand before kick-off proclaiming ’18 times’ was a statement about the club’s glorious past, before a game that might have ushered in a bright new future.
As the pre-match atmosphere grew and the teams went through their warm-ups, Klopp stood alone with his thoughts, knowing he had already delivered a season beyond any realistic expectation, yet, incredibly, without being able to go into the final day as favourite, despite losing once all season.