Liverpool finally received their English Premier League trophy on Wednesday night ending 30 years of waiting for their 19th cup.
Manager Jürgen Klopp followed by his coaching team and players went up to collect their winners’ medals at the purple podium.
Mohamed Salah was wrapped in an Egypt flag. Trent Alexander-Arnold, the 21-year-old Liverpool-born defender who has never seen Liverpool as English champions, peered down inspecting his medal.
Finally, the trophy was received as fireworks exploded around Anfield, smoke and pyrotechnics filling the emptiness of the arena where Liverpool had just beaten Chelsea 5-3 in a thrilling final — and 18th — home win of the season.
“It would be perfect with the stadium full,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said. “But you cannot change it.”
As his players partied around him on a field covered in confetti, Klopp had a message for the absent supporters.
“I don’t know when this bullshit virus is gone,” the German said. “Then we will have a party all together. Make sure you are all ready then.”
The Premier League trophy didn’t even exist when Liverpool was last champion of England in 1990. This new competition was only formed two years later.
But Liverpool’s 19th title was clinched the earliest of any time in English football history stretching back into the 19th century, by winning with seven games to spare.
“The expectation is so high,” Henderson said. “It’s been a process, it’s been a journey. It hasn’t happened overnight.”
As players and coaching crew celebrated inside the stadium, fans gathered outside for their own celebration, despite warnings to stay at home, the Press Association reported.
A heavy police presence was in force outside the stadium as the club played Chelsea on Wednesday night in their final home game of the season.
Police introduced a 48-hour dispersal zone around the ground in anticipation of crowds gathering as the trophy was lifted in the empty stadium.
Much 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.
Fireworks were set off in the street and fans stood on hoardings.
Officers took flares off some fans but did not stop them joining the crowd on Walton Breck Road, where many more began to gather after 10pm.
Supporters waved flags from the gates outside the Kop after climbing up and fireworks were set off from areas around the ground.
Some members of the crowd wore face masks and some had brought children to enjoy the celebrations, while others carried cans of beer.
The crowd outside erupted into huge cheers as fireworks went off from the stadium during the presentation ceremony.
By 11pm thousands of fans had gathered with people continuing to arrive, some carrying boxes of beer.
Thousands of supporters also celebrated outside Anfield last month when the team’s first top-flight title in 30 years was confirmed and huge numbers gathered at the city’s Pier Head the following night, where police reported violent confrontations.