- Manager and players celebrated title win at golf club
- Manchester City defeat confirmed end to drought
An emotional Jurgen Klopp during an interview following his Liverpool team being crowned Premier League champions Photograph: Sky Sports
Jürgen Klopp was overcome with emotion as Liverpool’s long wait to be crowned champions of England for the 19th time ended on Thursday night. A tearful Liverpool manager vowed there was more to come from his record-breaking team after Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea returned the title to Anfield after 30 years, 58 days and a three-month interruption caused by a global pandemic.
Klopp and his players gathered at Formby Hall golf club, not far from the German’s home on Merseyside, to watch Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge and erupted in celebration on the final whistle. The scenes were recreated across Merseyside where, despite appeals from police, thousands of fans congregated outside Anfield and road blocks were set up around the stadium. Fireworks and car horns could be heard.
“What can I say? It’s an incredible moment,” Klopp said in an interview with Sky. “I couldn’t be more proud of my coaching staff and all the people in Liverpool since we came in. It’s been a really exciting ride since the first day and it is not over yet. We watched it all together with the boys and it looks like there are still a good few more years left in their legs. It’s more than I ever dreamed of.
“It is a big moment, I have no words. It is such a big moment and I’m completely overwhelmed. I never could have thought it would feel like this, I had no idea …” Klopp, filling up with tears, broke off the interview at this point with: “Sorry gentlemen, I’m sealed.”
Liverpool’s captain, Jordan Henderson, was also emotional as the scale of the side’s achievement hit home. The new Premier League champions are 23 points clear of their nearest rivals and won the title with seven matches to spare, another record.
“I didn’t want to talk about it until this moment,” Henderson said. “It is amazing to finally get over the line and I’m so happy for all the boys, the fans, the whole club, the city. I’m a little bit overwhelmed right now; it’s an amazing feeling. I’m so proud of what we have achieved.
“When we won the Champions league on the pitch there was a lot of emotion. It was a different experience watching the game tonight. When the final whistle went, being able to be with everyone – staff and everyone together – was amazing really. It is another moment in our lives we will never forget.”
Henderson paid tribute to Klopp, the first Liverpool manager to win the title since Kenny Dalglish on 28 April 1990 (when Madonna was number one with Vogue), for his stunning transformation of a club that had endured several near-misses under previous regimes.
The midfielder added: “After the Champions League final I said it wouldn’t be possible without the manager and it’s the same with this title. No disrespect to other managers but from day one he came in the door he changed everything, everyone followed him and believed him and so far it has been pretty special and I hope we can continue in this and stay hungry.
“A lot of it you see – what you see is what you get – during his press conferences. On the sidelines he’s got a bit more of a personal side with the players. He’s so close with players, he’s got a perfect balance of that.
“He’s a leader and he’s a great human being. He’s got a great relationship with players, he is capable of being their friend and [can] give them a bollocking and be not so kind and ruthless at times as well. No matter what, we all follow him, we all believe in him and he has taken us to this point … It’s amazing to be a part of it.”
Liverpool’s principal owner, John W Henry, paid tribute to the team’s “magnificent achievement” from Boston, where he has remained because of UK quarantine rules. “This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club,” Henry tweeted. He added that the team’s achievements had “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.”
Klopp’s team have won the Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup within 13 extraordinary months and are on course to demolish several domestic records this season, many held by City.
Liverpool have won the Premier League with most games to spare, breaking the record of five held jointly by City (2017-18) and Manchester United (2000-01). They could end with a staggering 107 points, eclipsing the record of 100 set by City in 2017-18, the most victories in a Premier League season (usurping City’s 32 from 2017-18 and 2018-19), most home wins and the biggest title-winning points margin. City hold that distinction in the Premier League with 19 points in 2017-18 but the overall record of 23 belongs to Middlesbrough and West Ham when winning the second division in 1974 and 1981 respectively.
Henderson will have to wait until late July to lift the Premier League trophy and, while the ban on mass gatherings prevents a parade through Liverpool city centre, the club plan to hold a celebration with supporters when it is deemed safe.
“It’s much more than I ever thought would be possible,” Klopp said. “Becoming champion with this club is absolutely incredible.”