Liverpool wins Premier League title with seven games to spare
Thirty years of hurt came to an end for Liverpool when it was confirmed as Premier League champion on Thursday courtesy of second-placed Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat by Chelsea.
The result at Stamford Bridge means Liverpool has an unassailable 23-point lead over City with seven games left, Reuters reported.
Liverpool was last champion of England when it won the old First Division title in 1989-90 after which a decline in fortunes saw Manchester United and Arsenal, then Chelsea and Manchester City seize power.
Inspirational manager Juergen Klopp has rekindled the Anfield flame though and delivered the club’s 19th top-flight title, one behind archrival United’s record of 20, after finishing runner-up to City in a thrilling race last season.
As the Chelsea game moved into stoppage time at an empty stadium in London, 350km away outside Anfield Liverpool fans began lighting red flares as the celebrations began in earnest.
Also watching from afar was an emotional Klopp.
“I have no words, it’s unbelievable and much more than I ever thought would be possible,” he told Sky Sports after being congratulated by Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish, manager of the 1989-90 title winners.
“It’s easy to motivate this team because of our great history. It’s pure joy for me to coach them.”
In the last 12 months Liverpool has won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and World Club Cup, but regaining its status as top dogs in England, something that was almost a given in the 1970s and 1980s, was the priority.
“Juergen has been fantastic and epitomizes everything Liverpool Football Club stands for,” Dalglish, told BT Sport.
“And it’s not just a oneoff, last year they came within a point of it and this year they have only lost once.
“Onwards and upwards, I think they have a lot more happy days to look forward to now.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a threemonth suspension of the season and delaying Liverpool’s coronation, it has won the title with a record seven games to spare.
Reds eclipsed the mark jointly held by Manchester United (2000-01) and Manchester City (2017-18), which sealed their respective titles with five games left.
City manager Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Liverpool.
“Big congratulations for Liverpool,” said the Spaniard, whose title-winning side finished 25 points ahead of Klopp’s team two seasons ago and pipped them by a point last term.
“After 30 years without the title they played every game this season like it was their last with incredible focus. We were not consistent enough,” he added.
With 28 wins and one defeat in 31 games, Liverpool has set a record-breaking pace and was 25 points clear in February — the biggest lead in Premier League history.
When it beat West Ham United that month it was its 18th successive top-flight win, matching Manchester City’s record, before its hopes of an unbeaten season was dashed by a 3-0 defeat at Watford, a result that was merely a blip.
City was the first team to breach the 100-point barrier in the Premier League two seasons ago but Liverpool is on course to shatter that mark, as well as records for most points at home (55) and most wins in a season (32).
‘On Klopp of the world’
The end of Liverpool’s long wait for a league championship was celebrated across the English media on Friday with most going for the headline “Champions” while the Daily Star, in a nod to Reds’ manager, declared they were “On Klopp of the World.”
“Smashing Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday, showing all the class of champions more than 20 points clear of a brilliant City, ... felt like the sort of emphatic declaration of excellence these strange times needed,” Matt Dickinson wrote in The
“No need for asterisks — this success is deserved, and momentous. Liverpool has enjoyed its great European triumphs but there is something about domestic dominance that brings a deeper, richer sense of pride.”
Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail said, given the context, Liverpool’s campaign came close to topping the achievement of Leicester City in winning the 2015-16 title.
“Certainly, it is the most incredible title triumph in Liverpool’s history, and arguably the best delivered by an elite club in the Premier League era,” he wrote.
“As irritating as it may sound to the ears of their bitter rivals, this one really does mean more. It is a rewriting of the record books few can have expected a year ago...
“It is the season of all seasons, the campaign of all campaigns.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said he was happy to be proved wrong after writing in a 2017 column that he was not convinced Klopp had the ability to win the title.
“Klopp arrived at Anfield saying he wanted to turn doubters into believers. I was one of those who had given up hope,” Carragher wrote in The Telegraph.
“It gives me the greatest pleasure to admit these words now look misjudged. In my defense ... no one took me to task for the remarks at the time.”
A Liverpool fan celebrate winning the Premier League outside Anfield, Liverpool, Britain, on June 25, 2020. PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS