Liverpool have clinched their first league title in 30 years, putting an end to the nervous wait for glory during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jurgen Klopp’s men teed themselves up with a 4-0 victory at Anfield against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, meaning they were within touching distance of the title.
But their fate was in last year’s champions’ hands.
Manchester City could not keep up with the Reds, failing to get the away win they needed against Chelsea on Thursday night to remain in the hunt for the title.
They lost 2-1 after a high-stakes game that ended with Manchester City’s Fernandinho giving away a penalty and being sent off in the 77th minute, leading to a late goal by Willian.
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness said: “This is a special team. This is the team, going forward, you can’t say they’ll win it every year but they’ll come very close to winning this trophy and the big European one.”
The celebrations will look less traditional than usual on Merseyside, given spectating is still banned under the COVID-19 lockdown and fans are being discouraged from congregating outside grounds.
Liverpool have been top of the Premier League table almost all season – having only lost one Premier League game against Watford at the end of February.
Just as their lead at the top of the division stretched until it was almost impossible for other teams to catch them up, the pandemic took hold in Britain.
Fans waited tensely as clubs decided how to progress.
Premiership and Championship teams eventually decided to continue the season after a three-month break, first allowing contact training and then full games from 17 June.
But lower league clubs had their remaining matches cancelled and were reconciled to relegation, play-off or promotion based on their performance so far.
Since the matches restarted, players have worn t-shirts including logos bearing an NHS heart and Black Lives Matter – and have taken a knee before games to pay tribute to the campaign for racial equality.
Despite the early glory for Liverpool, with several games left to play they are still chasing records.
Having secured 86 points this season, they are chasing down Manchester City’s record of most points in a season – 100, set two years ago.
Both clubs will meet for their own Premier League clash, as Pep Guardiola will try to take win some pride back and dent Liverpool’s celebrations next Thursday.
Liverpool last won the top-flight English football league on 28 April 1990 with a 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Anfield.