FOR the majority of this white-knuckle ride at Anfield, the quadruple was very much on. There was a real sight of glory.
With City appearing to fall to pieces, Jurgen Klopp needed just one player to break Wolves’ brave second-half resistance and score the winner.
And that would have handed Liverpool the title.
But by the time Mo Salah made it 2-1 and Andy Robertson got a third, City had already delivered their stunning transformation.
But for Liverpool, they could not have done any more. It would have been heart-break had City slipped up to Villa and Liverpool had failed to see off Wolves.
Liverpool’s players were backed by a noisy Anfield but now, they must try and lift themselves for Saturday’s Champions League final with Real Madrid.
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And a major blow is that Thiago Alcantara is a major doubt after missing the second half with an injury.
Wolves, without a win in six matches, did extremely well to push Liverpool and they had enough chances to win the match.
Not a single person inside the stadium would have expected that from Jose Sa’s goal-kick – even though the keeper slipped – Wolves would take the lead after 130 seconds. Sa ended up on his backside but that gigantic kick was completely misjudged by Ibrahima Konate.
Raul Jimenez sprinted free and he spotted Pedro Neto who, having got clear of Trent Alexander-Arnold, was free to deliver the finish from six yards.
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Liverpool, led by Luis Diaz, snapped back immediately but, incredibly, Wolves should have been 2-0 up.
Neto teed up a terrific chance for Leander Dendoncker who found himself in a similar position to the first goal but he panicked and shot wide.
The sight of Neto going off with a knee injury was some good news for Liverpool.
But that was nothing to the relief around Anfield when Sadio Mane levelled. Thiago, with his back to goal, released Mane with an out-of-this-world flick and despite not managing the best of shots, Mane found a way past Sa.
As Liverpool pressed, the noise from the stands was pretty clear that Aston Villa had just scored.
Yet Klopp’s team kept leaving themselves too open at the back and sub Hwang Hee-chan could have made it 2-0 as he was clean through but forced a decent save from Alisson, who will share the Golden Glove this season with fellow Brazilian Ederson as the pair managed 20 clean sheets each.
Thiago went down the tunnel before half-time with James Milner appearing in his place at the start of the second half. Due to a problem with a right hamstring, Thiago is now a major doubt for the Champions League final.
And with Wolves keeper Sa struggling with a knee problem in the first half, no 2 John Ruddy – a former Everton keeper – also appeared for the second half.
Liverpool thought they had taken the lead – and also moved to the top – when Mane lifted the ball over Ruddy with a brilliant finish but the Senegal international was offside.
With just over 30 minutes left Salah replaced Diogo Jota as Klopp needed a piece of magic.
Ruddy was at full stretch to keep out a long-range shot from Alexander-Arnold and Willy Boly delivered an unbelievable tackle to deny Salah.
There was another almighty roar when news filtered through when former Reds star Phillipe Coutinho made it 2-0 for Villa.
Alisson tapped over a shot from Hwang and Wolves wasted another chance on the break when Jimenez should have created a tap-in for Hwang but the pass was terrible.
Sub Bobby Firmino kept giving the ball away and Anfield went quiet as City scored those two goals.
As City’s third went in, Wolves fans responded with ‘you nearly won the League.”
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Almost immediately, Salah scrambled the ball over the line after Joel Matip’s header was blocked on the line by Jimenez.
Andy Robertson made it 3-1 after Firmino pulled the ball back but it was to count for nothing and at the end, Klopp looked pretty miserable.
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