Liverpool on Thursday ended a 30-year wait for the English title as they were crowned Premier League champions, triggering jubilant scenes as fans ignored social distancing measures to celebrate uproariously.
Juergen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title with a record seven games remaining after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of second-placed Manchester City left the defending champions an unbridgeable 23 points adrift.
Liverpool’s first English title since 1989-1990 — delayed by the COVID-19 suspension — earns them their maiden trophy in the Premier League, which was introduced in 1992-1993 and has been won 13 times by their archrivals Manchester United.
Klopp was in tears after Liverpool’s long-awaited win, which followed their UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup victories.
“It’s such a big moment, I am completely overwhelmed,” an emotional Klopp told Sky Sports. “Tonight it is for you out there. It’s incredible. I hope you stay at home, or go in front of your house if you want, but not more. We do it together in this moment and it is a joy to do it for you.”
However, thousands of fans, many in masks, converged on Anfield, lighting flares, chanting and celebrating with a replica trophy, while motorists drove up and beeped their horns.
Liverpool, who were tantalizingly close to glory when the pandemic forced the suspension of English soccer in March, demolished Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield on Wednesday to stand on the brink of the title.
City needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep their slim title hopes alive, but slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
Liverpool’s 19th English title, which puts them one behind United’s record haul of 20, owes much to the transformational impact of Klopp.
“We followed him and believed him,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “It’s been an amazing journey. I’m hoping there is more. We just keep hungry, keep wanting more and following him.”
Liverpool have clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions, breaking the previous record of five games left shared by City and United, but it has been an agonizing wait for Liverpool fans across the world, with the pandemic forcing them to put the champagne on ice.
Videos on social media showed many of Liverpool’s players watching the Chelsea match together at a hotel.
“We won’t tell you the exact location, but we are all in a hotel together as a team,” Liverpool leftback Andrew Robertson told the BBC. “We thought something hopefully special was going to happen and that’s how it turned out.”
Liverpool infamously squandered a golden opportunity to win the title in 2013-2014 under manager Brendan Rodgers, when captain Steven Gerrard made a costly slip in a late-season defeat to Chelsea, but Klopp’s team are deserved champions after an incredible campaign that could end in record-breaking style.
Liverpool are on course to beat Manchester City’s record points total of 100 set in 2017-2018.
Klopp, the first German manager to win the Premier League, has been the architect of Liverpool’s renaissance since the former Borussia Dortmund coach arrived in 2015.
“He epitomizes everything that Liverpool Football Club stands for. He appreciates it, he respects everyone who works at he club,” Kenny Dalglish, manager of Liverpool’s 1989-1990 title-winning side, said of the German.
Klopp led the club to the UEFA Champions League title last season, but Liverpool were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City, despite finishing with a record 97 points for top-flight runners-up.
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