Liverpool’s 30-year wait for its 19th English title is finally over.
Jurgen Klopp’s side officially became the 2019-20 Premier League champions on Thursday without even kicking a ball, as Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 in London to make it mathematically impossible for City to catch the Reds before the end of this coronavirus-cursed season.
WE’RE PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/qX7Duxoslm— Liverpool FC (at 🏠) (@LFC) June 25, 2020
Chelsea’s all-important opening goal was scored by 21-year-old American Christian Pulisic, who netted in the first half. Pulisic took advantage of a giveaway by City defender Benjamin Mendy, pulling away from the French World Cup-winner with a slick change-of-pace before confidently sending seeing-eye shot into the bottom corner of the net past visiting keeper Ederson:
As pretty as the goal was, it also came against the run of play. City, which won the last two Premier League titles, outshot and (badly) out-possessed the hosts through the end of the first half. So while Chelsea went into the locker room with the lead, it was probably never realistic that they would be able to keep Pep Guardiola’s high-octane attack team off the scoreboard for the entire match.
Indeed, a perfect free kick by Kevin de Bruyne 10 minutes after the intermission eventually put Guardiola’s side back on even terms with plenty of time still left to play:
But it was as close as City would get. Pulisic, back in manager Frank Lampard’s starting lineup for the first time since New Year’s Day following his game-changing goal off the bench last weekend against Aston Villa, very nearly added a second. First he rounded Ederson and sent what looked like a sure goal toward the gaping net, only for a sliding Kyle Walker to clear the effort away just before it crossed the line:
NO GOAL! 🚨— #MyPLSummer (@NBCSportsSoccer) June 25, 2020
HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN?! pic.twitter.com/aC8U2d5Zuk
A spectacular save from Ederson on Pulisic from point-blank range followed shortly thereafter. However, after video review, match officials determined that City defender Fernandinho had slapped the rebound away with his hand before Tammy Abraham could steer it home. Willian stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty:
And after six minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge, what seemed inevitable long before the pandemic finally became reality. Liverpool hadn’t won the English top flight since 1989-90, before it was even known as the Premier League, and their 19th title leaves them just one behind Manchester United for the most ever. The Reds will receive the traditional “Guard of Honor” before their next match, which just so happens to be against City on July 2.
The Reds and Klopp — who brought a teenage Pulisic to Germany when he coached Borussia Dortmund back in 2015 — have the American to at least partially thank.
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