LIVERPOOL are finally Premier League champions, ending a 30-year title drought to reclaim their place at the top of English football.
Three decades in the making, the Reds have finally made it past the final hurdle after Manchester City lost 2-1 to Chelsea tonight.
After hammering Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp just needed Pep Guardiola and Co to drop points at Stamford Bridge.
Former Liverpool target Christian Pulisic – who played under Klopp at Dortmund – got Chelsea off to a flier with a superb breakaway goal.
Kevin De Bruyne’s stunning free-kick pegged the Blues back but Willian fired home a penalty to earn a huge three points and send Liverpool fans wild.
And now, with seven games remaining, the Kop faithful can finally breathe easy after months of stress with the season on the brink of being cancelled during the enforced break.
Klopp will now go down in Anfield folklore after guided Liverpool to that elusive Premier League crown – 11,016 DAYS in the making.
Time and time again, talented Liverpool squads promised much only to falter at the final hurdle.
The Reds last won the league in the 1989-90 season under Kenny Dalglish, with John Barnes at the peak of his powers with a superb 22 goals that year.
But since then it’s been a bleak three decades for Liverpool fans, domestically speaking.
In that time, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have won multiple league titles – with Blackburn and Leicester even securing Premier League glory.
The Merseyside giants have NEVER finished in the bottom half of the Premier League.
They have always been consistent in that regard, always in the hunt for a Champions League spot – or Europa League in a “bad” season, by their standards.
The thrilling 1995-96 season was Liverpool’s first big chance to secure a first Premier League title.
They finished third, despite pushing champions Manchester United and second-placed Newcastle all the way.
Who could forget that 4-3 thriller at Anfield, leaving Toon boss Kevin Keegan slumped over the advertising hoardings after Stan Collymore’s last-gasp winner.
You have to fast forward to the 2001-02 season for Liverpool to go one better, finishing second.
Despite Michael Owen scoring 29 goals that season, the Reds never looked likely to overthrow a strong Arsenal team, who ran out comfortable winners.
In a decade of frustratingly sub-par players and even more dreary showings, Liverpool would have to wait until 2008-09 to finally look like a Premier League worthy team.
That year saw Liverpool beat Man Utd 4-1 at Old Trafford, before thrashing Real Madrid 4-0 in their very next game.
An exciting midfield of Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso – complemented with Fernando Torres in his prime – looked likely to win.
But seven draws from ten games between November and January that season meant they left themselves too much to do – ultimately falling four points short of old rivals Man Utd.
For the following four seasons, Liverpool simply fell apart – finishing seventh, sixth, eighth and seventh again, under the likes of Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish.
The American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, became increasingly hated by the Kop faithful – with a key turning point in the Reds’ revival coming thanks to the 2010 arrival of Fenway Sports Group.
With FSG running the show – and now under Brendan Rodgers – the Reds became one of the most-feared attacking forces in the world.
In the 2013-14 season, Kop followers thought their SAS – Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez – along with Gerrard and Raheem Sterling would lead them to glory.
However, their attack-minded approach often saw them leak goals in a worryingly average defence, consisting of the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan and Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool scored a staggering 101 goals that season – with Suarez getting 31 of those… but they shipped 50, which proved their undoing.
Despite performing to an elite level all season, the neutral only tends to remember the Reds throwing away a three-goal lead at Selhurst Park… and Steven Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea.
DEFENCE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Rodgers’ men missed out on the title to Man City by just two points in one of the most frenetic, closely-run finales in Premier League history.
As it was, Rodgers was moved on and replaced by Klopp – and the rest, as they say, is history.
It took a while for Klopp to find his feet at Anfield and create a squad in his image.
During his reign, the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane signed for the German chief.
But the key turning point came in January 2018, when – FINALLY – sense prevailed and Liverpool splashed out big on their defence.
Virgil van Dijk joined in a then-record fee for a defender of £75million.
Liverpool would go on to lose in the Champions League final that season, 3-1 at the hands of Real Madrid.
Reds teams of the 90s and 00s may have been content with that, but Klopp and the new American owners weren’t.
Superstar stopper Alisson followed in the summer as Liverpool finally boasted a defence to complement their strong attack.
And Fabinho was also brought in to add some steel and defensive prowess to the midfield.
The emergence of a young, local lad by the name of Trent Alexander-Arnold, teaming up with £8m man Andrew Robertson in the full-back spots, helped give the Reds a new attacking outlet.
With the front-three of Mane, Salah and Firmino constantly switching places, keeping defenders guessing, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were given the licence to push forward and terrorise the opposition.
Their solid defensive play, combined with an outstanding eye for a cross – and even set-pieces in Trent’s case – has been key in the recent surge under Klopp.
With a world-class goalkeeper, a star-studded defence, a perfectly balanced – and deep – midfield, as well as a unique, blisteringly hot attack, it was only a matter of time before Liverpool broke their league title drought.
The Reds fell agonisingly short in 2018-19 – the season of their Champions League triumph.
Despite racking up a staggering 97 points, Liverpool agonisingly missed out on the title as Man City held their nerve on the final day to beat Brighton and finish ONE point above Klopp’s side.
While City attempted to improve their squad, Klopp remained loyal to the one at his disposal – opting against any big-name, first-team signings.
With another year of title-contending experience and young stars such as Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez increasingly confident, Liverpool got off to a flying start.
Klopp’s men were unstoppable, dropping their first points of the season as late as October, in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
At times, Liverpool looked untouchable – thrashing title-contenders like Man City in November and Leicester on Boxing Day.
But they mixed the ridiculous with the typical “champions performances”, snatching late winners against the likes of Aston Villa in November and turning frustrating draws into crucial wins.
The Reds wouldn’t drop points again until their shock 3-0 loss against Watford.
The season ground to a halt in March with the Reds hitting a slightly rough patch, getting knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League, as well as their Hornets stinging.
But they returned from lockdown on a mission – knowing a maximum of six points was all they needed.