LONDON (Reuters) - A superb solo goal by Christian Pulisic and a second-half Willian penalty earned Chelsea a 2-1 home win over Manchester City, a result that handed Liverpool the Premier League title, their first league championship triumph in 30 years.
The result failed to tell the story of a fast and incident-filled encounter where City dominated, claiming 65% possession but needed an exquisite free kick from former Chelsea player Kevin De Bruyne to get on the scoresheet.
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 Champions League spot.
The ever-energetic Pulisic, who was rewarded with a start by boss 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, sporting their dayglow yellow and orange away kit, 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 free on goal and sent another ball just wide.
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 VAR confirmed the penalty.
Fernandinho was sent off and Willian calmly scored from the spot in the 78th minute.
The result leaves City on 63 points with Liverpool on an unassailable 86.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant Liverpool had to wait three months longer for their first top-flight title since 1990, when they won under manager Kenny Dalglish before the inception of the Premier League.
Last season Manchester City pipped them to the title by one point and coach Pep Guardiola was quick to praise the new champions.
“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.”
Reporting by Clare Lovell; Editing by Christian Radnedge
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.