Merseyside Police sealed off roads near Anfield stadium last night as they tried to disperse thousands of Liverpool fans who gathered outside the ground to celebrate their team ending its 30-year wait to win the Premier League title.
The Reds, who had to endure a three-month wait for glory amid the coronavirus pandemic, were crowned champions on Thursday after Manchester City failed to beat Chelsea.
However, within an hour of the result, thousands of fans flocked to Anfield to let off flares, chant and celebrate the title win, while ignoring social distancing measures.
Some 5,000 fans managed to surround the stadium before police sealed off roads leading to it, though they made no move to break up the party.
A handful of police vans and uniformed officers waited near the ground – though the celebrations were peaceful despite a lack of social distancing. A police helicopter was also seen circling the ground.
Manchester City’s defeat gave Liverpool a first title win since 1990, ending 30 years of hurt and near-misses after multiple second place finishes.
Despite social distancing measures being in place across the city, fans still flocked to Anfield by foot and car to mark their side’s moment of glory.
The roads were clogged outside the ground and some fans even climbed up the steps of the main stand. Reds supporters honked their horns and fireworks were set off as Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City was confirmed, with hundreds of fans partying outside the main stand.
Despite some wearing masks, the majority ignored social distancing rules as they waved flags and scarves and embraced while marking their Premier League triumph.
One fan was cheered as he walked with a can of beer and a Jurgen Klopp mask, some were in tears and others carried children as young as four on their shoulders
Fan Alan Brown, 51, said: ‘This is amazing. I can’t believe how many fans are here but there’s no much social distancing going on. But everyone is happy and good natured.’
And the players also rejoiced, singing ‘championes’ for a full 10 minutes after the whistle had blown at Stamford Bridge.
They could be heard shouting ‘Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool’, after gathering in the 4-star Formby Hall Golf resort and spa ahead of the match.
Geoff Garner, 72, of Walton, Liverpool, was one of the first fans to arrive outside Anfield this evening.
The grandfather-of-seven said: ‘It’s the best feeling in the world. I went to my first game when I was 14.
‘This means everything – I had to be here, it is magical. I did think we’d have won a few more by now but this is special. I’m overjoyed.’
His daughter Susan Williams, 42, said: ‘It’s special being here with my dad. He lives and breathes the club. We had Liverpool tops as toddlers.’
Liverpool fan Anthony Nesbitt, six, was outside Anfield with his father Anthony, mother Marilyn and six-month-old brother Georgie, as well as a cardboard cutout of Sadio Mane.
The family, who live nearby, had been in Stanley Park as the match was played.
Ms Nesbitt said: ‘This is amazing, especially for them. We’ve been waiting 30 years for it.’
Jackie Dyer, 40, had travelled from her home in Derby to be at the ground. She said: ‘I had to come – I couldn’t have missed it. I had a feeling we’d do it.’ Standing by the fabled Kop, electrician Andy Chivers, 32, said: ‘This is going to be a wild night. It feels so great after we’ve waited so long. It’s now extra special as i feared the season might be voided because of coronavirus.’
Mother-of-three Mary West, 47, said: ‘I went to my first game when I was four – the club is in my blood. I am so happy.’
Accountant Mike Ward, 40, said: ‘This is going to be the party to end all parties. I feel so happy. The players celebrated the title triumph at the four-star hotel this evening.
Each player were asked to drive themselves in their own cars. Defender Andy Robertson arrived in his yellow Lamborghini.
The players sang ‘Champions’ as the final whistle went.
One source said: ‘The players were outside on the green and had a bbq. There was a large TV screen where they watched the match.
‘Golfers could hear them singing, and you could even hear the singing from the road outside the resort.
‘It is a great night for Liverpool. They are great fans of waited so long for this moment. It’s just a shame that they can’t enjoy it together in the central Liverpool. What a party that would’ve been.’
Sadio Mané smiled broadly and waved at a cluster of Liverpool fans as he was one of the first to drive away from the celebrations.
Word soon got round of where the Premier League champions were partying and an hour after the final whistle around 25 fans gathered at the gates.
They cheered when a fan appeared from a car waving a replica Premier League trophy.
Tonight’s result leaves Jurgen Klopp’s men 23 points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side with just 21 left to play for.
It is confirmation of what has been apparent for a long time, given Liverpool’s dominance during the campaign, of which there was further evidence on Wednesday evening when they thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0.
Liverpool, who narrowly missed out on the title to Manchester City last season, have been in stellar form all seasons, losing just one match on their path to glory.
Though the title had been destined to head to Merseyside because of Liverpool’s huge lead, there were fears the coronavirus pandemic would cause the season to be cancelled, potentially breaking the hearts of fans.
But the government allowed the Premier League to restart, paving the way to tonight’s crowning.
Reported by: Vincent Paul