'A season for the ages': Liverpool crowned Premier League champion
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom – Liverpool was crowned Premier League champions on Thursday, June 25 (Friday, June 26, Philippine time) as Chelsea's win over Manchester City ended the Reds' 30-year wait to win the English title, with jubilant fans ignoring social-distancing guidelines to converge on Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp's men sealed a 19th league title with a record 7 games remaining after defeat for second-placed City left the champions for the past two seasons 23 points adrift.
Liverpool, who were tantalizingly close to glory when the coronavirus forced the shutdown of English football in March, demolished Crystal Palace 4-0 at their home ground of Anfield on Wednesday to stand on the brink of the title.
City needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep the Premier League alive but slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
Liverpool tweeted "We're Premier League champions!!" seconds after the final whistle while Manchester City tweeted their congratulations.
"It's such a big moment, I am completely overwhelmed," an emotional Klopp told Sky Sports. "Tonight it is for you out there.
"It's incredible. I hope you stay at home, or go in front of your house if you want, but not more. We do it together in this moment and it is a joy to do it for you."
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hailed Klopp's transformational impact on the club.
"We followed him and believed him," he said. "It's been an amazing journey. I'm hoping there is more. We just keep hungry, keep wanting more and following him.
"The biggest thing is no matter what, we all follow him, believe in him and he's taken us to this point."
Thousands of Liverpool fans, many in face masks, streamed towards Anfield despite restrictions still in place due to COVID-19.
They lit flares and sang songs. Cars also gathered outside the ground, with some beeping horns as they passed.
Yes. It feels THAT good. I want to thank all our supporters watching us from all corners of the world. You made this possible for us and I hope we can keep bringing you the joy you deserve. now they’re gonna believe us pic.twitter.com/bqkXM1Fjpj— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) June 26, 2020
Liverpool's principal owner John W. Henry saluted his team's "season for the ages."
It was the culmination of a remarkable campaign for Liverpool, who have won 28 of their 31 league games, clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions and also lifted the Club World Cup in December.
US tycoon Henry, whose Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool in 2010, tweeted: "This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club.
"It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.
"The totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy.
"LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.
"It is said, 'We are Liverpool'. You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward – a historic club making history once again."
Liverpool had clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions, breaking the previous record of 5 games left shared by City and Manchester United.
But it has been an agonizing wait for Liverpool fans across the world, with the coronavirus lockdown forcing them to put the champagne on ice.
Videos on social media showed many of Liverpool's players watching the Chelsea match together at a hotel.
"We won't tell you the exact location but we are all in a hotel together as a team," Liverpool star Andrew Robertson told the BBC.
"We thought something hopefully special was going to happen and that's how it turned out."
Liverpool spent years in the shadow of archrivals Manchester United during the Alex Ferguson era before being left behind by the massive spending of Manchester City and Chelsea.
They infamously squandered a golden opportunity to win the title in 2014 under manager Brendan Rodgers, when Reds captain Steven Gerrard made his costly slip in a late-season defeat against Chelsea.
But Klopp's players are deserved champions after an incredible campaign that could end in record-breaking style.
Liverpool, now one title behind Manchester United's English record haul of 20, is on course to beat Manchester City's record points total of 100 set in 2017-2018.
Klopp, the first German manager to win the Premier League, has been the architect of Liverpool's renaissance since the former Borussia Dortmund boss arrived at Anfield in 2015.
Infusing his players with a belief in his "heavy metal" football and high-tempo "gegen-pressing" game-plan, the charismatic Klopp has earned his place alongside Liverpool's iconic former managers Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.
"He epitomizes everything that Liverpool Football Club stands for. He appreciates it, he respects everyone who works at he club," Dalglish said of the man to succeed him as the latest Liverpool manager to win the league.
Klopp led the club to the Champions League last season, but Liverpool got pipped to the Premier League title by City despite finishing with a record 97 points for top-flight runners-up.
But with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino forming a formidable front three, Henderson a tireless presence in midfield and Virgil van Dijk imperious at the back, Liverpool left City trailing in their wake this season.
"That is the reality, that we are so far behind," said City boss Pep Guardiola. "Liverpool were fantastic in consistency throughout the whole season." – Rappler.com