Thousands of Liverpool fans gathered at Anfield on Thursday night to celebrate the club’s first Premier League title – and first league championship in 30 years – in spite of coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
The Reds finally secured the elusive title they craved when Chelsea beat Manchester City at Stamford Bridge and ensured that Jurgen Klopp’s side cannot mathematically be caught.
Within half an hour of the final whistle in west London an estimated around 2,000 jubilant Liverpool fans had gathered outside Anfield to celebrate. It is later thought that up to 5,000 people eventually turned up, with police deciding to seal off roads around the stadium.
The celebrations were good-natured with many seen wearing masks, but police are not thought to have made any attempts to disperse people. This is despite pictures appearing to show that social distancing was being ignored during the current public health crisis, which as of Wednesday had claimed the lives of over 43,000 people in the UK.
Earlier in the day, Liverpool city metro mayor Steve Rotheram had urged fans to be the “best ‘stay at home’ fans in the world” and not descend on Anfield to celebrate. Thousands ignored the plea, while supporters were also pictured gathering in the city centre.
Merseyside Police could only praise the larger majority who didn’t come out and risk their health, with Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden commenting that at least, the “…overwhelming majority recognised now is not the time to gather together to celebrate, and chose to mark the event safely.”
Back in April, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson raised concerns about people gather to celebrate.
“Even if it was behind closed doors, there’s be many thousands of people who would turn up outside Anfield. There’s not many people who would respect what we were saying and stay away from the ground,” Anderson said at the time.
Liverpool took exception to those comments and responded with an official statement that expressed disappointment and declared there is a ‘lack of evidence to support such claims’.
Evidently, not everyone heeded the warnings.