Liverpool’s 30 year wait is over after the Reds secured their 19th top-flight league title, and a first in the Premier League era (since 1992), and these were the key moments en route to that success
Some Liverpool fans may have thought the time would never come, particularly over the last few months, but now they can finally celebrate.
Because for the first time in just over 30 years, the Reds can call themselves champions of England. And in a pretty convincing style too.
The destiny of this season’s league title was apparent long before the season was put on hold amid the coronavirus crisis, as Jurgen Klopp’s side hit the front early in the title race and simply refused to let go of their advantage.
- Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City – September 14, 2019
Pep Guardiola’s side had been pushed all the way by Liverpool last season, and there was a sense that push had reached breaking point on a raucous evening in East Anglia in the early weeks of the new campaign.
With City’s defence creaking following the departure of Vincent Kompany, the failure to sign a replacement and then the serious knee injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte in their previous game against Brighton, hosts Norwich gleefully seized on some woeful defending to punish their visitors.
Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell put the Canaries two goals up inside half an hour, but a comeback seemed inevitable when Sergio Aguero pulled on back on the stroke of half-time.
Teemu Pukki then took advantage of more slack defending to make it 3-1 at the start of the second half, and although most of the remaining 40 minutes was spent being convinced that Guardiola’s men would come back, they only had a late strike from Rodri in response.
Liverpool, who had beaten Newcastle United 3-1 earlier in the day, were five points clear after five games.
- Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City – October 5, 2019
Klopp had opted for a slight tactical tweak when Brendan Rodgers brought his high-flying Foxes to Anfield, with Sadio Mane shifting to the right of the attack and Mo Salah playing through the middle.
The Reds were excellent in the first half, but it wasn’t until Mane switched back to usual position on the left that they made the breakthrough, with the Senegalese racing onto James Milner’s through ball to score.
Leicester refused to lie down though, and when James Maddison fired past Adrian with 10 minutes remaining it had looked as though Liverpool were going to drop points for the first time this season.
But they didn’t.
Referee Chris Kavanagh decided that Mane had been tripped by a clumsy Marc Albrighton challenge in the 95th minute of the contest, leaving Milner to step up and win the game from the penalty with virtually the last kick.
- Manchester City 0-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers – October 6, 2019
The very next day, things suddenly became very real.
A late brace from the flying Adama Traore gave visitors Wolves a shock win over City to leave Guardiola’s men eight points behind Liverpool after just eight games played.
Comparisons were made between City’s surge to the title when faced with a deficit last season, but this time things just seemed different. Liverpool appeared to be made of stronger stuff at the same time as their title rivals looked weaker.
- Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool – November 2, 2019
By the 87th minute of the match at Villa Park, Liverpool – who had seen a Roberto Firmino goal controversially ruled out by VAR – were still trailing to a first half strike from home midfielder Trezeguet, and were unable to mount the kind of comeback that was going on at the same time at the Etihad Stadium.
There, Manchester City had come from a goal down to lead Southampton, with raucous celebrations greeting an 86th minute winner from Kyle Walker.
At that stage, City knew that they would be pulling to within three points of Liverpool if results stayed the same, and they would be heading to Anfield the following weekend with a chance to take top spot on goal difference.
As the clock ticked down at Villa, Mane’s cross from the right was nodded in by Andy Robertson as the Scotsman arrived like a train, and then four minutes into injury-time Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner was flicked into the net by Mane to spark delirious scenes in the away end.
It is a result Liverpool’s players have cited as key to their title tilt, and its importance cannot be overstated.
- Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City – November 10, 2019
That result the previous week set up the visit of City to Anfield perfectly, with Liverpool approaching the game almost if they were taking on a big boss in a video game.
They rode their luck early on, as Alexander-Arnold was judged to have only accidentally handled a cross into the Liverpool box, with the Reds immediately going down to the other end and taking the lead through a fierce long range strike from Fabinho.
Salah quickly made it 2-0 when he headed home Robertson’s cross after a superb break, with City simply unable to cope with a Liverpool side who had seemingly embraced their old, rampant selves.
Mane made it 3-0 when he headed home Jordan Henderson’s cross at the start of the second half, with City restricted to just a late consolation from Bernardo Silva.
The result sent the Reds nine points clear of their title rivals, and the first suggestions of the Reds being “champions-elect” began to flow.
- Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool – December 26, 2019
This was a day when Liverpool delivered the performance of European, world and eventually Premier League champions.
Having arrived off the back of two World Club Cup matches in Qatar, where the final went to extra-time, the Reds hammered the team who came into the game as their closest challengers in the table.
In a consummate display, Alexander-Arnold played a key role in the first three goals as he twice teed up Firmino and saw his cross handled by Caglar Soyuncu to allow Milner to score from the penalty spot.
Not content with that, the full-back then crashed home the fourth goal from the edge of the box to seal a sumptuous display.
The Reds pulled 13 points clear with a game in hand, ensuring that even the most pessimistic of supporters had started to believe now.
- Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United – January 19, 2020
Liverpool’s visitors had started well at Anfield, before Virgil van Dijk nodded the Reds ahead from a corner to almost assert the 27-point gap between the two clubs.
The Reds tried and failed to force a second throughout the clash, but when they eventually get it deep in stoppage time it was the trigger for any remaining members of the club’s fans who were holding out to finally embrace what was actually happening.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker sent Salah clear, and the Brazilian was the first to celebrate with the forward in front of a joyous Kop end, who soon broke into a chorus of “we’re going to win the league” for the first time en masse all season.
At the time it seemed like it could be wrapped up in weeks, but after an unforeseen hiatus, Liverpool have finally secured their longed-for prize.
By Mirror Football