Police criticised Liverpool fans after thousands poured into the streets around Anfield to celebrate their Premier League triumph, urging them to show caution during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jubilant supporters thronged the area after Chelsea beat Manchester City in London, guaranteeing an end to Liverpool’s 30-year wait to win the English top-flight crown.
Assistant chief constable Rob Carden said Merseyside had been “disproportionately affected” by the coronavirus crisis and people had a responsibility to prevent further cases.
There have been claims the Champions League match between Liverpool and Spanish side Atletico Madrid on March 11 — the last major football fixture played in England before the coronavirus lockdown — played a part in that.
“The overwhelming majority of fans have recognised the fact that now is not the time to gather together to celebrate, and chose to mark the event safely,” he said. “They are a credit to this city.
“Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the lockdown period, not everyone adhered to the regulations in place. Although the vast majority of celebrations were good-natured, a large number of people chose to gather outside the stadium.”
Within an hour of the result, thousands of fans, many in face masks, had gathered outside Anfield, lighting red flares and singing football songs.
Many were seen hugging and one man stood with his arm around a cardboard cut out of manager Jurgen Klopp, who had urged supporters not to congregate.
Others carried flags and scarves while some fans brought crates of beer.
Police officers were seen in the area as fans celebrated but no attempts were made to disperse the good-natured crowd.
Liverpool City Council told fans to “have a great party” but maintain social distancing as they celebrated and Carden urged them to mark the occasion safely.
“In the days ahead, we urge supporters to do the right thing and celebrate safely with members of your household and in your social bubble,” he said.
“By doing this you keep yourself, your family, friends and neighbours safe.”