Standing on the Kop that ought to have been full of Liverpool’s most ardent supporters, Jordan Henderson did what no captain of the group had carried out before- Lift the Premier League trophy.
As fireworks exploded from the roofs of the largely empty Anfield stands, purple smoke stuffed the void.
Not since 1990 – two years earlier than the inception of the Premier League – has Liverpool been topped champion of England.
Only a late authorities reprieve ensured gamers at the least had just a few members of the family contained in the stadium to witness the crowning second of a season like no different within the historical past of English soccer.
Top-flight soccer trophies are by no means handed out in July in England, however the chilly climate inside Anfield felt extra like winter when Liverpool began to run away with the championship, Only the pandemic – no opponent – put glory unsure.
For three months, gamers and followers agonized whether or not the season would even resume. The solely method it may was with followers shut out of the stadiums. No exemptions, even for a title celebration.
Instead seats within the heart of the Kop had been eliminated and changed by the purple podium the place supervisor Jurgen Klopp adopted by his teaching group and gamers went as much as acquire their winners’ medals.
“I was never on the Kop before, it was pretty special,” Klopp said. “It makes sense in the moment when the people are not in that we use the Kop to celebrate it with them together in our hearts.”
Mohamed Salah, whose goals have transformed Liverpool into English, European and world champion, was wrapped in an Egypt flag.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, the 21-year-old Liverpool-born defender, peered down as he inspected his medal. He really was a Premier League champion, achieving what hometown greats Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher had been unable to as the drought persisted.
In the Main Stand, Kenny Dalglish – wearing a red face mask featuring a club crest – sipped champagne. He was manager in 1990 when Liverpool won what was then the Division One title.
Now Liverpool is finally a 19-time champion of England, one behind the record held by Manchester United, which usurped the Reds by collecting the Premier League trophy 13 times from 1993 to 2013.
Not even a police order to disperse from outside Anfield could deter Liverpool fans from getting as close as possible to the trophy lift. They couldn’t see it but they made their presence felt by setting off pyrotechnics in nearby streets that boomed around the stadium.
“Everything could be higher with followers,” Klopp stated. “It would be perfect with the stadium full. But you cannot change it.”
The gamers even delivered an explosive efficiency on the pitch earlier than the trophy carry.
In the final home sport of the season, Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-Three to document an 18th win in 19 league matches at Anfield. There had been 5 totally different scorers- Naby Keita, Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“I am surprised,” Klopp said. “How can you put a shift in like this when everyone thinks you want to be partying afterwards?”
As his players did eventually party around him on a field covered in confetti, they gathered for a rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Usually it would be the fans on the Kop most vocal in singing the club anthem.
“I don’t know when this (expletive) virus is gone,” the German stated in a message to followers from the pitch. “Then we will have a party all together. Make sure you are all ready then.”
Liverpool’s 19th title was clinched the earliest of any time in English top-flight soccer historical past stretching again into the 19th century, by profitable with seven video games to spare.
“The expectation is so high,” Henderson stated. “It’s been a process, it’s been a journey. It hasn’t happened overnight.”
And they don’t need the journey to finish. The motivation now could be to defend the title to allow them to have a good time subsequent yr with followers inside Anfield.
“The feeling you get now could be the sensation you need a lot,” Alexander-Arnold stated. “It’s something that will drive us.”