Liverpool crowned champions: Players go wild inside Anfield, thousands of fans do the same outside - in pictures
The first top flight trophy for the Reds since 1990
Standing on the Kop that should have been filled with Liverpool's most ardent supporters, Jordan Henderson did what no captain of the team had done before: Lift the Premier League trophy.
As fireworks exploded from the roofs of the mostly empty Anfield stands, red smoke filled the void. The Liverpool players partied inside Anfield, while the fans went wild outside.
Not since 1990 — two years before the Premier League was formed— have Liverpool been crowned champions of England.
Seats on the Kop were replaced with a purple podium for manager Jurgen Klopp, followed by his coaching team and players, to collect their winners' medals.
“I was never on the Kop before, it was pretty special,” Klopp said. “It makes sense in the moment when the people are not in that we use the Kop to celebrate it with them together in our hearts.”
Mohamed Salah, whose goals have transformed Liverpool into English, European and world champions, was wrapped in an Egypt flag.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, the 21-year-old Liverpool-born defender, peered down as he inspected his medal. He really was a Premier League champion, achieving what hometown greats Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher had been unable to as the drought persisted.
In the Main Stand, Kenny Dalglish — wearing a red face mask featuring a club crest — watched proudly. He was manager in 1990 when Liverpool won what was then the Division One title.
Now Liverpool are 19-times champions, one behind the record held by Manchester United, who overtook the Reds by collecting the Premier League trophy 13 times from 1993 to 2013.
Not even a police order to disperse from outside Anfield could deter Liverpool fans from getting as close as possible. They couldn't see it but they made their presence felt by setting off fireworks in nearby streets that boomed around the stadium.
“Everything would be better with fans,” Klopp said. “It would be perfect with the stadium full. But you cannot change it.”
The players even delivered an explosive performance on the pitch before the trophy lift.
In the last home game of the season, Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-3 to record an 18th win in 19 league matches at Anfield. There were five different scorers: Naby Keita, Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“I am surprised," Klopp said. "How can you put a shift in like this when everyone thinks you want to be partying afterwards?"
As his players did eventually party around him on a field covered in confetti, they gathered for a rendition of “You'll Never Walk Alone.” Usually it would be the fans on the Kop most vocal in singing the club anthem.
“I don’t know when this virus is gone," the German said in a message to fans from the pitch. “Then we will have a party all together. Make sure you are all ready then.”
Updated: July 23, 2020 12:52 PM