Liverpool players sang their heart out alongside manager Jurgen Klopp after lifting the English Premier League trophy for the first time in their history on Wednesday night.
Despite warnings from the German manager and local police, Reds fans were out in their thousands too to celebrate the occasion in a season that will be remembered as much for the chaos caused by coronavirus as it will for Liverpool’s dominance.
They will never walk alone, indeed.
In the harsh light of the day after the night before, Liverpool now have to face up to a stark reality: They will never have it so easy again.
Let’s face it, for all their dazzling play, stout defence and top-drawer goals, this Liverpool team had no real challenger as they cantered to their first domestic league title in 30 years — the Premier League did not even exist the last time Anfield saw their men lift the league trophy.
Outgoing champions Manchester City had a ‘poor’ season by their standards after injury ravaged their squad, denying them of key players such as Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte for significant chunks of the campaign.
Manchester United have only recently got their act together, after securing star playmaker Bruno Fernandes in January and unearthing academy talent Mason Greenwood.
Chelsea, similarly, are just beginning to show promise as their key frontmen are beginning to link up, with strong support from midfield.
Leicester City have given their all, but another dream run to the title was always beyond them after the miracle of 2016.
The less said about stuttering also-rans Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal the better as they are still not even guaranteed Europa League football with one game left this season, never mind the Champions League.
All of this has led to a Liverpool team — injury free and full of confidence — strolling to the title in record time, all the while flattering to deceive.
If anything, the Anfield faithful should be worried about next term as they will find it next to impossible to stay at the top, especially if the once-faultless Virgil Van Dijk in defence and Alisson Becker in goal do not get their acts together following some dreadful performances of late.
The cracks have been showing at Liverpool since the return to action last month following the COVID-19 hiatus, and it looks like teams are now getting the measure of this lot.
City showed the others the way when they thrashed the champions 4-0 at the start of July, and Burnley held them at Anfield before Arsenal them inflicted another defeat on Klopp’s men. Everton also held their city rivals to a goalless draw. Chelsea put another three past them in defeat on Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s men in Manchester will be hungrier than ever next season, with an extra point to prove following their exoneration of any guilt in the Uefa FFP saga and their reinstatement in the Champions League. They will also have the priceless boost of not only holding on to their top players, who may have been looking elsewhere, had their two-year ban been upheld, but bringing in even more talent to bolster an already formidable squad.
Then there is the Chelsea factor …
Frank Lampard’s side are waiting in the wings, growing in confidence and, following a transfer ban, ready to secure the signings they need to make a title push. They already have the likes of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante ready to fire on all cylinders next season (even Olivier Giroud is back on the scoresheet). When you add in new boys Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and — in all likelihood — Kai Havertz, they will have a line up to have most teams running scared, Liverpool included.
Take note Jurgen, or the Reds’ time at the top will be short.