Liverpool: Liverpool lifted the Premier League trophy on the famous Kop end at Anfield after a thrilling 5-3 win over Chelsea on Wednesday, that keeps the Blues waiting to seal their place in next season’s Champions League.
Despite pleas for fans to stay away on the night Liverpool finally got their hands on the trophy, supporters crowded around the stadium even prior to kick-off, while the second half was accompanied by the constant crackling of fireworks lit by fans outside the ground.
On the field, Jurgen Klopp’s men ensured a memorable night was accompanied by a positive result after just two wins in five previous games since they clinched a first title in 30 years.
Sweet first half strikes from Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum put the hosts in command and Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck after the break to ensure Chelsea’s comeback fell short.
Defeat sees Chelsea slip to fourth and leaves Frank Lampard’s men still needing a point at home to Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to secure a place in the Champions League.
“It’s huge, we know the situation,” said Lampard.
“It’s in our hands to get a result against a very good Wolves team.”
Chelsea have already bolstered their attacking options for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, while they are reportedly closing in on a deal for the 90-million euro (Dh383 million) rated Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen.
But it is at the other end Lampard clearly has to find solutions as they completed an entire league season with just one clean sheet away from home and have now conceded 54 times in the Premier League this season.
“They’re a fantastic team and we can’t afford to make those mistakes,” added Lampard.
Keita is one of very few big money signings in Klopp’s time in charge not to reach his full potential in two seasons since a move from RB Leipzig, but the Guinean showed what he is capable of by crashing a shot in off the underside of the bar from outside the area.
Chelsea were incensed with the award of a free-kick that led to Liverpool’s second when Mateo Kovacic was penalised for bringing down Sadio Mane.
But there no doubt about the quality of Alexander-Arnold’s strike as he curled home his third free-kick of the season, two of which have come against the Blues.
Wijnaldum then smashed into the roof of the net after Chelsea failed to clear a corner before Olivier Giroud pulled a goal back at the other end by sliding in after Alisson Becker saved Willian’s initial effort.
There were plenty of fireworks on the pitch too after the break as Alexander-Arnold crossed for Firmino to score his first league goal at Anfield all season.
Christian Pulisic was surprisingly left on the bench by Lampard from the start and he changed the came after he was introduced alongside Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The American skipped past four challenges before squaring for Abraham and then fired powerfully into the roof of the net with the Liverpool defence all over the place.
But Chelsea were undone again at the other end as a blistering break from inside their own box saw Liverpool surge forward and Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed home Andy Robertson’s cross at the back post.