Liverpool fans urged to celebrate at home
Liverpool fans are being urged to celebrate the club’s Premier League triumph at home as police believe more gatherings are planned after thousands filled the streets outside Anfield.
Supporters packed the area around the ground after 10pm on Thursday when the club claimed the title as the final whistle blew in the match between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Merseyside Police said it understood some people were “looking to come together” to mark the team becoming champions of England for the first time since 1990 again on Friday night, but warned fans to wait for official celebrations.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said: “We understand people want to celebrate Liverpool becoming Premier League champions for the first time in 30 years, and the time will come when fans can celebrate together with the team and applaud their achievement, but now is not that time.
“Please follow the advice of the players, the manager and the club by putting safety first. The club is encouraging fans to share their experiences of watching future games at home with the hashtag #LFCAtHome on social media, and we all look forward to sharing your experiences of celebrating safely.”
The force has pointed out that Merseyside still has a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases compared to other parts of the country.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who described the scenes outside Anfield on Thursday as “disappointing”, told the PA news agency an official victory parade would be held once it was “really safe”.
Liverpool council said alternative plans were being made to mark the achievement in an “appropriate manner” at the end of the season in July.
By the time Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over City was confirmed on Thursday night around 100 fans, many wearing facemasks, were outside the Main Stand at Anfield where they let off fireworks and waved flags.
Within an hour of the decisive match finishing, thousands of other supporters had joined them.
Police closed off Walton Breck Road as crowds gathered at the Kop end of the ground where flares were set off and some supporters climbed on roofs and railings as they sang songs and celebrated into the early hours of the morning.
Fans were seen hugging and one man stood with his arm around a cardboard cut out of manager Jurgen Klopp.
Mr Roy said: “Last night the overwhelming majority of fans celebrated in the confines of their own home and we thank them for listening to the messages put out by ourselves, LFC, Spirit of Shankly, the NHS and Liverpool City Council, and for being a credit to the city.
“In the days ahead, we urge supporters, and the Merseyside public in general, to do the right thing and celebrate safely with members of your household and in your social bubble. By doing this you keep yourself, your family, friends and neighbours safe.
“This is our opportunity to show the rest of the country, and even the world, why this city is revered for its ability to come together in challenging times and do the right thing.”
Mr Anderson said: “The passion and the enthusiasm and the excitement of fans clearly meant that they were prepared to take risks, unfortunately, and it’s disappointing but it’s gone now, it’s over, and what we’ve got to look forward to is making sure that people remain safe now and vigilant at all times in the post-victory of last night.”
The Everton-supporting mayor congratulated Klopp’s team and said the win was a “fantastic boost” for the city and its economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.