Liverpool fans celebrate first league title in 30 years outside Anfield

SHOWS: LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, UK (JUNE 25, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. FAN OPENING A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE

2. FIREWORKS

3. FANS

4. TWO CHILDREN ON TWO SHOULDERS

5. FANS DANCING AND CHANTING

6. FIREWORKS / FANS WITH FLARES

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIVERPOOL FAN, CARL EVANS, SAYING:

"Long, long wait. Doesn't fell real yet. I mean obviously it is real, it's amazing. But the circumstances aren't the best given we couldn't be in the ground and see us winning and hopefully by some miracle we might get to see us later our last game, but it doesn't matter. We're champions and no one's taking that away from us. Now Premier League champions, most successful club in the country ever and no one's ever catching us."

8. MAN AND CHILD HOPING REPLICA PREMIER LEAGUE TROPHY ALOFT

9. FANS

10. WOMAN HOLDING CHILD

11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIVERPOOL FAN, TONY BYQEST, SAYING:

"What can you do, it is what it is. Everyone's in the same boat, but you know what? We knew we were going to win it anyway didn't we."

12. FAN HOLDING FLARES / HANDING FLARE TO ANOTHER FAN

13. LIVERPOOL FLAG / MAN THROWING BALL DOWN FROM TREE

14. CHILD ON MAN'S SHOULDERS

15. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIVERPOOL FAN, CHRISTIAN RAEY, SAYING:

"Thirty years too long. Welcome home Premier League. That's the way it should be."

16. CHILD HOLDING UP LIVERPOOL SCARF WHILE ON MAN'S SHOULDERS

17. FANS CHANTING

18. LIT FLARE

19. FANS WITH CELLPHONES

20. VARIOUS OF FANS STANDING AROUND A FAN WITH A LIT FLARE

21. FAN KISSES CAMERA

22. FANS CELEBRATING TO CAMERA

23. FANS

24. FAN WATCHING CELEBRATIONS

25. CHILDREN WEARING A MANE AND SALAH LIVERPOOL SHIRT RESPECTIVELY WATCHING THE CELEBRATION / FIREWORKS

STORY: Thirty years of hurt came to an end for Liverpool when they were confirmed as Premier League champions on Thursday (June 25) courtesy of second-placed Manchester City's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea.

The result at Stamford Bridge means Liverpool have an unassailable 23-point lead over City with seven games left.

Liverpool were last champions of England when they 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 arch-rivals United's record of 20, after finishing runners-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.


HAPPY DAYS

In the last 12 months Liverpool have won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and World Club Cup, but regaining their status as top dogs in England, something that was almost a given in the 1970s and 1980s, was the priority.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a three-month suspension of the season and delaying Liverpool's coronation, they have won the title with a record seven games to spare.

They eclipsed the mark jointly held by Manchester United (2000-01) and Manchester City (2017-18), who sealed their respective titles with five games left.

City manager Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Liverpool.


RECORD PACE

Had it not been for the unprecedented stoppage, Liverpool were on course to smash the record for the earliest clinching of the league title. Instead, they are now the first team to lift the coveted trophy as late as June.

Liverpool finished last season with nine straight league wins and, after claiming the Champions League by beating Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid, began the new campaign in relentless fashion to leave rivals trailing in their wake.

With 28 wins and one defeat in 31 games, Liverpool have set a record-breaking pace and were 25 points clear in February -- the biggest lead in Premier League history.

When they beat West Ham United that month it was their 18th successive top-flight win, matching Manchester City's record, before their hopes of an unbeaten season were dashed by a 3-0 defeat at Watford, a result that was merely a blip.

Leading the charge has been Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian forward who is the first Liverpool player to score at least 20 goals in all competitions in three consecutive seasons since Michael Owen at the start of the millennium.

Salah scored on Wednesday as Liverpool thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield -- a result that meant City had to beat Chelsea to delay the inevitable for a while longer.

City were the first team to breach the 100-point barrier in the Premier League two seasons ago but Liverpool are on course to shatter that mark, as well as records for most points at home (55) and most wins in a season (32).