A superb solo goal by Christian Pulisic and a second-half Willian penalty on Thursday earned Chelsea a 2-1 home win over Manchester City, a result that handed Liverpool the Premier League title.
The result failed to tell the story of a fast and incident-filled encounter where City dominated, claiming 65 percent possession, but needed an exquisite free-kick from former Chelsea player Kevin de Bruyne to get on the score sheet.
Chelsea had to defend, but took their chances to move five points ahead of Manchester United in the battle for fourth place and a coveted UEFA Champions League spot.
The ever-energetic Pulisic, who was rewarded with a start by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard after coming on as substitute to score against Aston Villa on Sunday, exploited a mix-up between Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Guendogan after a City set-piece.
The American ran from the halfway line before confidently slotting the ball past Ederson to open the scoring in the 36th minute.
De Bruyne put City level with his free-kick that rose over the wall and dipped into the net 10 minutes into the second half.
City were all over the London side at the start of the second half, as if looking to wear them down on a warm evening.
There were chances for Raheem Sterling, who hit the post when through on goal and sent another ball just wide, while Mendy, De Bruyne and substitute David Silva were also constant threats down the wings.
It was during a rare foray into the City area that Chelsea earned quick chances for Pulisic and substitute Tammy Abraham, before Fernandinho performed a volleyball-like slap off the line and the video assistant referee confirmed the penalty.
Fernandinho was sent off and Willian calmly scored from the penalty spot in the 78th minute.
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola was quick to praise the champions Liverpool after the match.
“Well deserved. They [Liverpool] have played an incredible season,” the Spaniard told the BBC. “Two seasons ago, we were 100 points and they finished more than 25 points behind. Last season they didn’t recover the distance and this season they went the distance. We have to learn from this season and improve for the next one.”
Elsewhere, Arsenal claimed their first points since the COVID-19 suspension with a 2-0 win at Southampton, while Burnley defeated struggling Watford 1-0 at Turf Moor.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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