Manchester City edges Liverpool to retain Premier League title

Manchester City was pushed all the way by Liverpool but retained its Premier League title with 4-1 victory against Brighton on Sunday.

Manchester City players celebrate Riyad Mahrez's goal during their 4-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday.   -  AP

Manchester City retained the Premier League crown on Sunday thanks to a 4-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles in England's top flight for a decade.

Alex Ferguson's Manchester United made it three in a row in the 2008-09 season, after which point the Premier League has changed hands year on year.

City now has its fourth title in the past eight seasons and can contemplate the prospect of a similar era of dominance under Pep Guardiola, having followed up last season's 100-point haul with 98 to edge a relentless tussle with Liverpool.

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The EFL Cup winner will now turn its attentions towards next weekend's FA Cup final against Watford at Wembley and the prospect of an unprecedented domestic treble.

As in 2012 and 2014, City was forced to go to the final day of the campaign to seal glory, although there was no need to repeat the unforgettable drama of Sergio Aguero's last-gasp strike against QPR on the former occasion, as, despite falling behind, it moved through the gears to claim the three points it required at the Amex Stadium.

Glenn Murray nodded the host in front but City led by half-time thanks to goals from Aguero and Aymeric Laporte. Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan netted after the break to get the party in full swing.

Liverpool has the relative consolation of finishing with the best points total of any second-placed team in Premier League history, but its 29-year wait for a 19th English title goes on.

Indeed, the 97 points Klopp's men amassed is the third highest points total any team has managed in the division, behind City's exploits of the past two seasons.

Following the scarcely credible Champions League semifinal triumph over Barcelona in midweek, the Reds returned to Anfield to beat Wolves 2-0 thanks to Sadio Mane's double.

But football's apparent thirst for the unexpected this week was not further quenched on England's south coast, as City ensured it prevailed in this gruelling title battle of epic proportions.

Both teams took unbeaten runs into the eighth league game of the season, where it shared a 0-0 draw on Merseyside – Mahrez's late penalty miss denying City its first win at Anfield since 2003.

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The first team to show signs of buckling under the unforgiving pace was City, who lost to Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester City in the space of a four-game December nightmare.

That slump meant Liverpool arrived at the Etihad Stadium in January with a seven-point advantage. Goals from Aguero and Leroy Sane either side of a second-half Roberto Firmino equaliser gave City a pivotal 2-1 win and handed Liverpool its only top-flight loss of the campaign.

In normal circumstances, draws with Leicester City, West Ham, Manchester United and Everton would be welcome contributions to a title-winning haul, but those Liverpool slips proved decisive as City embarked on a run of 14 consecutive league victories after its loss at Newcastle United on January 29.

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