Liverpool fans turned out in their thousands at Anfield tonight as their side lifted the Premier League title for the first time – but they have ignored police demands to go home and set off smoke bombs and fireworks outside the stadium.
The team beat Chelsea 5-3 behind closed doors at the historic stadium and after the match captain Jordan Henderson held the trophy aloft and started the celebrations in the city as the team were showered in confetti.
Merseyside Police asked supporters to stay at home and celebrate because of fears over the coronavirus being spread in the city, but hours before kick-off, hundreds defied police warnings and converged in the streets around Anfield.
Fans let off red flares, waved flags, blew carbhorns and set off fireworks, with some fans standing on the hoardings during the game. Officers took flares off some fans but did not stop them joining the crowd outside the stadium.
In anticipation of the trophy being lifted police had introduced a 48-hour dispersal zone around the ground in anticipation of crowds gathering as the trophy was lifted in the empty stadium.
Large parts of the stadium was fenced off but by 9.45pm a large group had gathered in the road outside the Kop end with flags and flares.Police vans lined the road and officers stood in cordons.
Footage posted on social media shows fans letting off smoke bombs and celebrating on top of a double decker bus through the streets of the city while motorists beeped their horns.
One fan John Manners,24, a delivery driver from Walton, said: ‘It’s so difficult for people like me. I’ve waited all these years since I was a kid at school for something like this. And I can’t be there.
‘There’s nothing we can do. But stand here and get close to the ground on the team as possible.
Jordan Henderson, captain of Liverpool lifts The Premier League trophy following the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea this evening
Liverpool fans celebrate outside Anfield as fireworks are set off as the players and the players receive the Premier League trophy inside the ground
Dejan Lovren and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrate with The Premier League trophy after beating Chelsea
Liverpool supporters outside Anfield stadium in Liverpool despite warnings from authorities to stay away for fears of spreading coronavirus
Hundreds of Liverpool fans have already started congregating outside Anfield and have let of red flares
Liverpool fans wait to greet the Liverpool FC team bus outside Anfield in Liverpool this evening
Liverpool fans celebrates their team’s fourth goal as they watch a big screen showing Liverpool’s final home English Premier League football match of the season against Chelsea at a pub near Anfield
Fans look on and hold flares as Liverpool players arrive outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC this evening
Liverpool fans celebrate with red smoke outside a pub near Anfield in Liverpool. The group of men pictured are wearing t-shirts saying ‘City couldn’t stop us, neither could corona’
Liverpool fans with flares celebrate their sides second goal during their match against Chelsea
Liverpool fans celebrates as they watch a big screen showing Liverpool’s final home match of the season against Chelsea at a pub near Anfield
‘ The police seem to be leaving us alone, which is a good thing. But it’s still our premiership.’
Another fan Lizzie Simkins, 19, from Bootle, said: ‘It’s quite surreal being out here when you know that all we have dreamed of is going on inside there.
‘My dad has followed Liverpool all his life. He has been to European games and been to hundreds of away games.
‘But he had the virus and it knocked him flat out for two months. He’s better now, but he’s still not 100 per cent.
‘My boyfriend and me are here to take loads of videos and pictures to send them to him so he feels some of the joy on these streets.
‘We are here for him as he can’t be here. We will remember tonight for the rest of our lives.’
Rizwan Ali, 29, from Dubai, said: ‘It was impossible for me not to come here. We have to have a party…I have come a long way.’
March Wilmot was with her 12-year-old daughter Alex from Cheltenham,outside Anfield. Both wore Liverpool colours and joined the throng of locked out fans.
Fans gather outside the stadium and light smoke flares during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea
Liverpool fans celebrates their opening goal as they watch the match from a nearby pub
Liverpool fans set off flares outside Anfield as the Liverpool team bus arrives before their clash with Chelsea
A banner being pulled by a plane reading ‘Congrats Champions’ is flown over the ground during the Premier League match at Anfield
Hundreds of Liverpool fans have gathered outside Anfield this evening to celebrate the club’s title win
March Wilmot was with her 12-year-old daughter Alex from Cheltenham, outside Anfield this evening celebrating the club’s success
Mrs Wilmot, a teacher, said: ‘I have waited 30 years for tonight. It is a right of passage for me and my daughter.
‘It’s sad that we can’t be inside the ground. But there is no way we were going to miss tonight.
‘ It is wonderful to be here with all these amazing fans and the fireworks going off. It’s a night we just couldn’t miss, despite Covid beating us in the end.
‘Every Liverpool fan in the world would want to be in Anfield tonight. But this is the closest we can get. And it’s ok I suppose.’
The message that flew above Anfield this evening was organised by a wealthy businessman who hired a private jet to send his message of congratulations to the newly crowned chanpions.
The message flown from a Cessna 182 which took off from Blackpool, said: ‘Congrats champions. YNWA. Bahrain.’
The plane flew above Anfield about 15 minutes after kick off.
A source close to the businessman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘It was just a gift from the All the Bahraini Liverpool Supporters.
‘We are proud to be Liverpool Fans and We congratulate them on this Victory. After 30 years , we have finally won the league!’
It comes as the ladies behind the men who brought Liverpool its first league title in 30 years were allowed into Anfield after agreeing to wear masks and socially distance.
Liverpool fans celebrates their team’s first goal as they watch a big screen showing Liverpool’s final home English Premier League football match of the season against Chelsea at a pub near Anfield
They were given seats in the ground’s executive boxes after a late decision to allow 300 people into the stadium was made.
The ground’s safety advisers reversed an earlier decision to bar extra guests from seeing Liverpool lift the trophy at the Kop end of the ground after the match with Chelsea.
Assistant Chief Constable Natalie Perischine, from Merseyside Police, said: ‘This is such an important night for all Liverpool fans in the city and worldwide, with the Premier League trophy to be lifted inside the stadium.
‘The club and TV companies have made careful preparations to ensure that millions of people can enjoy these special moments on screen, in the comfort of their homes.
‘On this occasion, the best seat in the house is in your living room. There is simply no benefit to going to the ground and we as a city cannot afford for people to gather in large numbers.
‘We are all still in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy.
‘The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we have seen in other areas.’
It comes the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp urged his squad to savour every moment of the title triumph this evening.
Jurgen Klopp has urged his squad to savour every moment of a golden period in Liverpool’s history as he prepares to lift the Premier League trophy.
He said: ‘In the moment, when I spoke about the last 13 or 14 months, it was for sure the most exceptional and successful year of my career.
‘Being champion of Europe, England and the world, it doesn’t happen too often.
‘So I think it makes sense that we take a picture with all four trophies because I don’t think there are a lot of pictures in existence where a club has all four of these trophies. We will do that 100 per cent and rightly so.
‘It’s not that I had to say it to them – but I have mentioned it. This is absolutely special. This is the moment, pretty much where you talk about things after a season, but this is the moment that you really have to cherish. You have to appreciate it and reflect, 100 per cent, it has been exceptional.
‘The last 13 or 14 months of this team, it didn’t start then, it started before then but we won all that since then so that makes it really, really special. But all the things in the one-and-a-half to two years before were really exceptional. We just didn’t get the reward.
It goes to show, if you are good and you work hard, which we have obviously done and you put in all you can, there is a chance. It doesn’t mean you can get it as we saw the year before, but there is a chance. We were ready to work for this chance and, in the end, the boys made it happen.’
There will be some symmetry with Liverpool’s last title triumph in 1990 this evening as Jordan Henderson will replicate Alan Hansen in lifting the prize after missing the ceremonial match through injury.
Liverpool won that fixture against Derby 1-0 and Klopp would settle for the same score.
Klopp was serene when he thinking about the way this collision with Chelsea will go and says there can be no comparison to how he felt before Liverpool faced Tottenham in Madrid last June, needing to win to lift the Champions League.
‘I had some good moments since we won the Premier League, being reflective and happy about how big of a prize it is but the difference could not be bigger,’ said Klopp. ‘Before the Champions League final I had massive pressure that it was really important.
‘I always thought it would be much nicer winning a Premier League early than going into a Champions League where everything goes into an all-or-nothing point. Winning the league seven games before a season ends is incredible
‘It is 100 percent the moment when we get the trophy. That is what it is all about. It is one of the big stories in football history. If someone had a chance to decide to become champion in any country this year, which team would you want to be to have it special, make your choice?
‘The choice would have been Liverpool FC because it was the one everyone wanted to be part of, and we are lucky to be part of it. I appreciate that a lot. It is a really big one. It is not that other championships will ever be forgotten, but this one no-one will forget.’
Leeds fans crowd outside Elland Road as they celebrate their return to the Premier League
Liverpool fans are not the only ones celebrating a superb title-winning season this evening. Thousands of jubilant Leeds United fans gathered tonight as the side lifted the Championship trophy following their promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds were promoted on Friday (Jul 17) evening and crowned champions the next day – prompting wild celebrations outside their Elland Road stadium and in the city centre.
Scores of supporters once again congregated outside the ground this evening as the Whites played their final home game of the season and lifted the league trophy.
Club songs were belted out by the many in attendance, a number of whom were drinking cans of lager, while blue, white and yellow flare smoke billowed into the air.
Fans of all ages, from OAPs to young children, joined the impromptu promotion party and many motorists passing the stadium could be heard beeping their horns.
Leeds United fans outside Elland Road celebrate winning the Championship and their promotion to the Premier League
Leeds United fans outside Elland Road celebrate winning the Championship and their promotion to the Premier League this evening
Leeds United fans outside Elland Road celebrate winning the Championship and their promotion to the Premier League
Statues of Leeds United club legends Billy Bremner and Don Revie, which are located just outside the stadium, were adorned with white, yellow and blue scarves and shirts.
A police presence was in place while club stewards also attempted to deal with the crowd.
Earlier on today Leeds United fans were urged to stay at home as the side played their final game of the season, versus Charlton Athletic.
Club chief executive Angus Kinnear said: “we must consider the health of people in our community before we celebrate”.
Leeds, who are three-time champions of England, were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 following a 14 year stay in the division.