Belfast Telegraph

Five key matches which helped ensure trophy remains in Manchester

Rising high: Aymeric Laporte heads City's second at Brighton
Rising high: Aymeric Laporte heads City's second at Brighton

By Paul Burrows

Manchester City edged out Liverpool to secure a successful defence of their Premier League crown. Here, Belfast Telegraph Sport takes a look back at five key matches over the course of the campaign:

Liverpool 0-0 Man City

The two Premier League title contenders went head to head at Anfield in October - and City wasted a golden opportunity to leave with all three points.

With just five minutes left, Virgil Van Dijk brought down City substitute Leroy Sane to give away a penalty. Riyad Mahrez stepped up, but the £60m summer signing could only blaze his spot-kick over the crossbar.

The point allowed City to regain top spot from Chelsea, as the Reds dropped to third.

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham

Liverpool edged out Tottenham 2-1 on March 31 to return to the top of the table - but only after late drama when Toby Alderweireld diverted the ball into his own net in the final minute.

It appeared Jurgen Klopp's side were about to hand the initiative back to City after Lucas Moura cancelled out Roberto Firmino's first-half header, which would have left the Reds level on points but significantly behind on goal difference.

However, as the clock ran into the 90th minute Mohamed Salah popped up at the far post to head goalwards, which Hugo Lloris could only palm out and Alderweireld managed to deflect the ball past his goalkeeper.

Man United 0-2 Man City

A trip to bitter rivals Manchester United late in the season was seen as a possible hurdle for City in their head-to-head duel with Liverpool.

They need not have worried.

Bernardo Silva put them ahead nine minutes after the break and Leroy Sane made it safe as David De Gea had a night to forget.

Man City 1-0 Leicester City

City had needed the intervention of goal-line technology to award Sergio Aguero's effort in a 1-0 win at Burnley.

There was, though, nothing marginal about the superb strike from captain Vincent Kompany which saw Pep Guardiola's side secure a crucial win.

With just 20 minutes left of what had been a largely nervous display at the Ethiad Stadium, City's skipper crashed in a ferocious long-range effort which flew past Kasper Schmeichel and into the top corner.

It was a 13th successive Premier League victory for City as they edged back in front of Liverpool heading into the final day of the season.

Brighton 1-4 Man City

With City just a point ahead, there was little margin for error from Guardiola's men when they travelled to Brighton.

The Reds had to beat Wolves at Anfield to stand any hope of snatching the title away.

It looked as if it was going Liverpool's way when Sadio Mane scored and City went behind, but the Blues would hit back to win 4-1 on the south coast and defend their crown.

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