LIVERPOOL: Thousands of Liverpool fans celebrated their Premier League title win outside the club's Anfield Stadium on Thursday (Jun 25) as their 30-year wait for the league crown finally came to an end.
Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions when second-placed Manchester City were beaten 2-1 at Chelsea, meaning the Merseyside club could not be caught with a 23 point lead over City with seven games remaining.
Despite social distancing rules and restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Liverpool supporters put coronavirus fears to one side, ignoring advice from the club's manager Jurgen Klopp, as they converged on Anfield to start the title party.
Fans turned the sky red with flares and fireworks and sang the club's famous songs and chants, including the team's anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.
Even as clocks ticked past midnight, crowds outside Anfield were still swelling, with fans scaling the walls of the stadium. All Premier League games since the restart have been held behind closed doors, meaning fans were not at the stadium when Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday.
Hugging and drinking in the street, the fans were determined to make the most of the long-awaited first title since 1990.
Cars also gathered outside the ground, with some beeping horns as they passed scarf-wearing fans carrying crates of beer.
The celebrations took over the city centre, with the Cunard Building, by the Pier Head, lit up in red for the night.
Fan Marilyn Nesbitt and her family, carrying a cardboard cutout of Liverpool winger Sadio Mane, had been in nearby Stanley Park as the match was played.
"This is amazing, especially for them. We've been waiting 30 years for it," she said.
"We have all waited so long, everyone who has been involved in the club, they had been desperate to bring the title home for the supporters," former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher, who sprayed a bottle of champagne on air, told Sky Sports. "You see the scenes tonight."
Videos on social media showed many of Liverpool's players watching the Chelsea match together at a hotel.
When Reds defender Virgil van Dijk was being interviewed on BT Sport after the final whistle at Chelsea, he was briefly hugged by a group of Liverpool players wearing the team's red shirts and singing "champions!".
Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Andrew Robertson were among the celebrating Liverpool stars.
"We won't tell you the exact location but we are all in a hotel together as a team," Robertson told the BBC.
"We thought something hopefully special was going to happen and that's how it turned out.
"We went a bit crazy but the place went a bit silent when (Manchester City's) Kevin De Bruyne bagged a worldie free-kick," he said in reference to City's equaliser at Stamford Bridge.
"Luckily Chelsea reacted off that. The place went wild and we could sit back and enjoy the last five minutes."