Nine people were arrested as Liverpool fans defied police’s dispersal order to celebrate their Premier League title triumph, while four people were arrested outside Elland Road where Leeds supporters gathered to mark their league triumph.
Liverpool fans turned out in their thousands at Anfield last night as their side lifted the Premier League title for the first time – but they ignored police demands to go home and set off smoke bombs and fireworks outside the stadium.
Further north, Leeds United fans gathered outside Elland Road, resulting in four fans being arrested, including one arrest for assaulting an emergency worker after an officer received minor injuries.
Leeds were promoted on Friday (Jul 17) evening and crowned champions the next day – prompting wild celebrations outside their Elland Road stadium and in the city centre and the same happened last night after the team completed their final Championship game.
Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-3 behind closed doors at the historic stadium and after the match captain Jordan Henderson held the trophy aloft and started the celebrations in the city as the team was showered in confetti.
Merseyside Police asked supporters to stay at home and celebrate because of fears over the coronavirus being spread in the city, but even hours before kick-off, hundreds defied police warnings and converged in the streets around Anfield.
Fans let off red flares, waved flags, blew car horns and set off fireworks, with some fans standing on the hoardings during the game. Officers took flares off some fans but did not stop them joining the crowd outside the stadium.
In anticipation of the trophy being lifted police had introduced a 48-hour dispersal zone around the ground in anticipation of crowds gathering as the trophy was lifted in the empty stadium.
Assistant Chief Constable Natalie Perischine, from Merseyside Police, said: ‘Officers made a total of nine arrests outside Anfield last night for affray, assault, people who were drunk and disorderly and drug driving.
‘The vast majority of the crowd were good natured and had dispersed by 2am. Thankfully we didn’t see the sort of incidents of disorder and criminal damage we saw at the Pier Head on 27 June, the investigation into which has seen more than 20 arrests made to date.’
Large parts of the stadium were fenced off but by 9.45pm a large group had gathered in the road outside the Kop end with flags and flares. Police vans lined the road and officers stood in cordons.
By 11pm thousands of fans had gathered with people continuing to arrive, some carrying boxes of beer.
Footage posted on social media showed fans letting off smoke bombs and celebrating on top of a double decker bus through the streets of the city while motorists beeped their horns.
ACC Perischine added: ‘Although the numbers who gathered last night could have been significantly higher, it is still disappointing that people did not listen to requests from ourselves, Liverpool Football Club and Liverpool City Council not to gather in large numbers because of the risks still posed by COVID-19.
‘We are all still in unprecedented times due to the pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy so I want to take this opportunity to again urge people to act sensibly, follow Government guidance and keep themselves and each other safe.’
One fan John Manners, 24, a delivery driver from Walton, said: ‘It’s so difficult for people like me. I’ve waited all these years since I was a kid at school for something like this. And I can’t be there.
‘There’s nothing we can do. But stand here and get close to the ground on the team as possible.
‘The police seem to be leaving us alone, which is a good thing. But it’s still our premiership.’
Another fan Lizzie Simkins, 19, from Bootle, said: ‘It’s quite surreal being out here when you know that all we have dreamed of is going on inside there.
‘My dad has followed Liverpool all his life. He has been to European games and been to hundreds of away games.
‘But he had the virus and it knocked him flat out for two months. He’s better now, but he’s still not 100 per cent.
‘My boyfriend and me are here to take loads of videos and pictures to send them to him so he feels some of the joy on these streets.
‘We are here for him as he can’t be here. We will remember tonight for the rest of our lives.’
Rizwan Ali, 29, from Dubai, said: ‘It was impossible for me not to come here. We have to have a party…I have come a long way.’
March Wilmot was with her 12-year-old daughter Lucy from Cheltenham, outside Anfield. Both wore Liverpool colours and joined the throng of locked out fans.
Mrs Wilmot, a teacher, said: ‘I have waited 30 years for tonight. It is a right of passage for me and my daughter.
‘It’s sad that we can’t be inside the ground. But there is no way we were going to miss tonight.
‘ It is wonderful to be here with all these amazing fans and the fireworks going off. It’s a night we just couldn’t miss, despite Covid beating us in the end.
‘Every Liverpool fan in the world would want to be in Anfield tonight. But this is the closest we can get. And it’s ok I suppose.’
The message that flew above Anfield this evening was organised by a wealthy businessman who hired a private jet to send his message of congratulations to the newly crowned chanpions.
The message flown from a Cessna 182 which took off from Blackpool, said: ‘Congrats champions. YNWA. Bahrain.’
The plane flew above Anfield about 15 minutes after kick off.
A source close to the businessman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘It was just a gift from the All the Bahraini Liverpool Supporters.
‘We are proud to be Liverpool Fans and We congratulate them on this Victory. After 30 years , we have finally won the league!’
It comes as the ladies behind the men who brought Liverpool its first league title in 30 years were allowed into Anfield after agreeing to wear masks and socially distance.
They were given seats in the ground’s executive boxes after a late decision to allow 300 people into the stadium was made.
The ground’s safety advisers reversed an earlier decision to bar extra guests from seeing Liverpool lift the trophy at the Kop end of the ground after the match with Chelsea.
Liverpool won that fixture against Derby 1-0 and Klopp would settle for the same score.
Klopp was serene when he thinking about the way this collision with Chelsea will go and says there can be no comparison to how he felt before Liverpool faced Tottenham in Madrid last June, needing to win to lift the Champions League.
‘I had some good moments since we won the Premier League, being reflective and happy about how big of a prize it is but the difference could not be bigger,’ said Klopp. ‘Before the Champions League final I had massive pressure that it was really important.
‘I always thought it would be much nicer winning a Premier League early than going into a Champions League where everything goes into an all-or-nothing point. Winning the league seven games before a season ends is incredible
‘It is 100 percent the moment when we get the trophy. That is what it is all about. It is one of the big stories in football history. If someone had a chance to decide to become champion in any country this year, which team would you want to be to have it special, make your choice?
‘The choice would have been Liverpool FC because it was the one everyone wanted to be part of, and we are lucky to be part of it. I appreciate that a lot. It is a really big one. It is not that other championships will ever be forgotten, but this one no-one will forget.’
Liverpool fans were not the only ones celebrating a title-winning season last night.
West Yorkshire police confirmed four people were arrested for public order offences outside Elland Road as Leeds United fans gathered to celebrate their return to the Premier League.
Leeds were promoted on Friday (Jul 17) evening and crowned champions the next day – prompting wild celebrations outside their Elland Road stadium and in the city centre.
While trying to ensure the safety of the fans who had gathered, West Yorkshire Police say one officer was injured result in an arrest for assaulting a police officer.
Superintendent Jackie Marsh, of Leeds District Police, said: ‘The safety of fans and the wider public has always been our primary concern and that is why we advised the safest way for people to celebrate in these times was in their own homes.
‘However, it was anticipated that some fans would gather outside the ground last night to celebrate and a police operation was put in place to make sure that this was managed safely and effectively.
‘This operation saw a total of four people arrested for public order offences. One officer received a minor injury which did not require hospital treatment.
‘While most of those who gathered did so with good intentions, there were some missiles thrown which resulted in officers having to wear protective equipment.
‘Assaults on police officers will not be tolerated and enquiries will be made to identify those responsible so appropriate action can be taken.’
Scores of supporters once again congregated outside the ground this evening as the Whites played their final home game of the season and lifted the league trophy.
Club songs were belted out by the many in attendance, a number of whom were drinking cans of lager, while blue, white and yellow flare smoke billowed into the air.
Fans of all ages, from OAPs to young children, joined the impromptu promotion party and many motorists passing the stadium could be heard beeping their horns.
Statues of Leeds United club legends Billy Bremner and Don Revie, which are located just outside the stadium, were adorned with white, yellow and blue scarves and shirts.
A police presence was in place while club stewards also attempted to deal with the crowd.
Earlier on in the day, Leeds United fans were urged to stay at home as the side played their final game of the season, versus Charlton Athletic.
Club chief executive Angus Kinnear said: ‘We must consider the health of people in our community before we celebrate’.
Leeds, who are three-time champions of England, were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 following a 14 year stay in the division.