It was the final minute of the final game when, for the final time, Liverpool gave an emphatic reminder of why they are champions.
Roberto Firmino’s pass had been a little loose and was drifting towards the far touchline. Sadio Mane scuttled after it to keep the move alive but he could easily have been forgiven if he had simply put his foot on the ball and allowed the clock to run down.
Not a bit of it. Mane went through the gears, darting into the area and skipping past Newcastle defender Valentino Lazaro to make an angle. Other team-mates were better placed but it didn’t matter. Mane knew what he wanted to do and he did it, beautifully, bending in a ferocious shot.
On the touchline, 50 yards away, Jurgen Klopp stood beaming.
He clapped his hands enthusiastically above his head, while the rest of the coaching staff and substitutes hooted and hollered their glee. The gloss to a quite magnificent campaign had been applied.
‘This goal really sums the season up,’ said Klopp. ‘It is difficult but not impossible, so give it a go. That is what the boys did the whole year and what they did in this moment.
‘It was just a brilliant piece of football. This was a victory for the whole squad — like the whole season.
‘This group of players is really exceptional and they will be remembered forever. The boys don’t only win games on their perfect days, they are ready to really dig deep on the not so perfect days.
‘Now we have two weeks off but we still have to write a couple more chapters of the book of this team.’
When he looks back, the chapter of this campaign will make wonderful reading. Liverpool have finished with 99 points, a club record; 32 wins matches the bar set by Manchester City in 2017-18; and their 3-1 triumph was the 14th away from home.
Liverpool have become a winning machine and for all that City have had a superb end to the season, they will need to improve again through the transfer window if they hope to wrestle back the domestic crown.
Klopp, after all, is adamant that more improvement will be forthcoming.
Poor Newcastle might have had ambitions of shaking Liverpool up but this was the equivalent of walking into a gun fight carrying a violin.
It was a mismatch summed up when Steve Bruce looked to his left in the 64th minute and saw Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino coming on.
True, they could not have wished for a better start.
When Virgil van Dijk clattered into Allan Saint-Maximin, Jonjo Shelvey spotted a huge gap in Liverpool’s defence and, taking a quick free-kick, he clipped a ball forward that enabled Dwight Gayle to fire past the startled Alisson Becker.
There had only been 23 seconds of play — Klopp stood with his hands in his pockets, seemingly finding it bizarre — and you wondered whether all the emotion and all the effort had finally taken its toll on Liverpool.
Soon, however, it became apparent that scoring so quickly was simply going to make this a very long afternoon for the hosts. Liverpool started to pass the ball around, Newcastle decamped and it became attack versus defence.
The eye-catching Takumi Minamino served notice of Liverpool’s intentions, with a 25-yard drive that Martin Dubravka pushed around the post. It was a superb save from the Newcastle keeper but he was powerless to prevent the equaliser in the 37th minute.
Van Dijk was the scorer, rising to loop a header over Dubravka after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had darted past Danny Rose to pick him out. Some Newcastle shoulders sagged in that moment and it became a question of when, not if, Liverpool would score again.
They had to wait until just past the hour, when Divock Origi ended a 25-match barren run, with a fizzing drive.
And there should have been even more before Mane’s virtuoso effort left his manager beaming with contentment.
Bruce, by contrast, is dealing in uncertainty. He rallied against the Premier League afterwards, demanding clarity around the proposed Saudi Arabia takeover, and he will have a call with Mike Ashley on Wednesday to outline his plans.
‘Is it going to happen?’ he asked.
Ashley had contacted Bruce and his squad on Zoom after the game to thank them for their efforts but words are hollow. Newcastle need proper help to start moving forward again.
‘I want this club to do well,’ said Bruce. ‘It’s been the same ever since I was a kid. It would have been easy for me to say I didn’t fancy this job. I’m trying to enjoy it the best I can.’