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Men’s Football Liverpool turn their focus to Paris

Liverpool 3-1 Wolves
by James Nalton 
at Anfield

FOR a moment at Anfield on Saturday, it felt like Liverpool had a chance of winning the Premier League for the second time in three seasons.

News filtered around the old stadium that Aston Villa, today more than ever known as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, had scored a second goal at Manchester City.

The most enthusiastic celebrations from pockets of Liverpool supporters were designed to let the rest of the crowd and the players know what was going on.

Final day sign language was being used to relay the latest scores and the situation was soon widely known.

That hope soon turned into anxiety as, on the pitch, Liverpool were struggling to get the result they needed.

A Pedro Neto goal gave Wolves an early lead after a booming Jose Sa goal kick was misjudged by Ibrahima Konate. Raul Jimenez found himself behind the defence and squared to his onrushing teammate.

There were desperate shouts of offside from the hospitality seats behind the press box, but this was a goal kick, from which a player cannot be offside — a useful tactic, thanks to Sa’s long kicks, which Wolves deployed with some success throughout the first half.

Liverpool came back into the game via Sadio Mane. This was the Mane we see for Senegal, stepping up when his teammates need him most, and on this occasion slotting home coolly with his weaker left foot despite having time to think about using his right once one on one with Sa.

As the title was momentarily there for the taking for Liverpool, with City two goals behind, the nerves swept through Anfield. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side were jumpy, running on adrenaline and not running in the right places at the right times. 

Mane had another good finish ruled out for offside before Wolves travelling fans, momentarily Manchester City supporters for a reason only they know, began cheering. 

City had scored twice in two minutes in Manchester, and it was back in their hands, even more so when they added a third a few more minutes later.

Shortly after, Liverpool took the lead at Anfield for the first time. Mohamed Salah poked home to secure a share of the Golden Boot with Son Heung Min who had netted twice for Spurs at Norwich.

Andy Robertson added a third goal but Salah’s awards were the only silverware benign handed out at Anfield at the end of this game.

The Egyptian also picked up a Playmaker of the Season award for finishing with the most assists in the league.

None of this should take away from what a remarkable season this has been for Liverpool, which is further highlighted by the fact it’s not over yet. 

They travel to Paris this week where they will take on Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final. It’s a chance for Klopp’s side to lift three trophies in one season, having already claimed the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

Many fans, of all ages, believe this is the best Liverpool team they have ever seen. 

Their points tallies in recent seasons would normally have been enough to win three Premier League titles rather than one, but they are up against an equally extraordinary outfit in Pep Guardiola’s City.

There’s a disappointment in Liverpool that such an impressive league season does not reap a reward at the end of it.

But victory in Paris and a seventh European Cup would be much more than a consolation prize, and would further reinforce their status as one of the best teams in the world, and one of the best Liverpool teams ever.

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