By Andrew Warshaw
June 26 – Thousands of Liverpool fans celebrated long into the night after the club ended a 30-year drought on Thursday by clinching the English top-flight title without even playing and with a record seven games to spare.
Jurgen Klopp’s runaway and revitalised Premier League leaders won their first domestic crown since 1989-90 after Chelsea beat Manchester City to make sure that mathematically Liverpool couldn’t be caught as they romped home by a staggering 23 points.
All Premier League games since the restart of the season have been held behind closed doors but despite social distancing rules, thousands of fans flocked to the club’s stadium with flares, flags and fireworks in sheer delirium at winning the title for the first time in the Premier League era after a totally dominant campaign.
Local police said most fans had marked the end of three decades of hurt event safely but that “Unfortunately… not everyone adhered to the regulations in place.”
The inspirational Klopp, who restored confidence, identity and a winning mentality to a club that used to be the most feared side both in England and Europe, could not disguise his delight.
“I am completely overwhelmed. I don’t know, it’s a mix of everything. I am relieved, I am happy, I am proud,” said Klopp, wearing a Liverpool shirt and visibly emotional.
Last season the charismatic German led Liverpool to the Champions League crown and to within one point of Premier League champions Manchester City, racking up 97 points and losing only one game all campaign.
No side had ever accumulated so many points without winning the league but that no longer matters.
“I have no words, it’s unbelievable,” said Klopp. “It’s much more than I ever thought would be possible, becoming champion with this club is absolutely incredible.
“I haven’t waited 30 years, I have been here for four-and-a-half years, but it is quite an achievement, especially with the three-month break because nobody knew if we could go on. I know it is difficult for people in this moment but we could not hold back. We will enjoy this with our supporters when we can.”
The club was 25 points clear when the league was abruptly halted by the coronavirus in March and Liverpool fans dreaded the season being declared null and void.
But once matches were allowed to go ahead, the relief was palpable as Liverpool – who for years played second, third or even fourth, fiddle to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City – finally rekindle past glories under Klopp who succeeded where a succession of predecessors failed.
“The world has watched the fierce determination of this club on the field for every single match,” said John Henry, Liverpool’s American owner, “the preparation, the resolve and the talent of those who put together perhaps the greatest league performance ever in any country’s history.”
The only downside of Liverpool’s 19th top-flight title is that any thoughts of a victory parade will have to wait until the pandemic regulations are eased further.
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