Liver­pool wins Premier League ti­tle with seven games to spare

Iran Daily - - Sports -

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.”

Happy days

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.

Record pace

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

Times.

“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

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