We haven’t always been there, anyway. For the strangest of all league title wins, its deserted trophy presentation is somehow fitting.
I’ll be honest, my fondest memories are never to do with receiving it anyway. This one, like in 1988, we’ve known for such a long while that Liverpool had it won. We merely awaited confirmation.
Having it on the Kop was a nice touch. I doubt Klopp had anything to do with the planning, but it will be something he’ll have endorsed “100%”, as he is fond of saying.
There were other times when first place was touch and go right until the last whistle. In 1976, when we were 15 minutes away from failure and our success actually sent the home team Wolves down.
That must have been fun for them, but 13 years later we’d have our very own domestic heartbreak.
Last season Wolves came to Anfield on the final day and sang lustily about City winning the league at our expense. How huffed up and put out we were. Short memories, obviously. Karma haunts football like a ghost.
And 1986, the first half of the glorious double against Everton, was also on another ground – Chelsea’s that time. There was an Anfield presentation however, before a game with Norwich in the doomed Europe fill-in the Screen Sports Super Cup.
We beat Everton in that too, for what it’s worth (absolutely nothing).
Sometimes we got lucky by clinching and collecting the trophy on the same day. My favourite was 1982, but even that was more memorable for the tumultuous ovation Ray Clemence received from the Kop, on his return with Spurs.
And for when Souness casually threw the trophy to another player, like a rugby ball. Half arrogance, half nonchalance. It summed him up, summed the team up. Summed us all up.
It’s great to end such a long wait, but nostalgic twonks like me only went hurtling back to the last time.
People keeping tabs on Villa via radios clamped to ears, and then the final whistle triggering an anxious wait for good news from Brummieland. I remember it like it was yesterday, and don’t feel put out by not being able to film it on my phone.
The trophy presentation days later, not so memorable. I’m not even sure I went. That’s how blasé I was about Liverpool being champions. It was normal, it was what they did.
We once clinched the league at Notts County, and I left before the end to get an early train back for a concert. A concert! It was a good one mind, but before the pop video prevailed groups toured regularly and missing one wouldn’t have been a debacle. I felt the same way about league titles, then.
Long after 1990 there was merciless ribbing for John Terry, the consummate Full Kit Wanker, hopping into trophy presentations and celebrations when he hadn’t even played. Chelsea fans defended him by saying he’d featured for most of the season and was captain, but we mocked regardless.
Embarrassing then to be reminded that Alan Hansen did exactly the same in 1990, and here’s Jordan Henderson doing it now. The writer Alan Bleasdale said it best; when you point the finger, make sure you’ve got two pointing at yourself.
The last-day lap of honour around the pitch is now a ‘tradition’ whether you won it or not. There’s been some stern-faced schlepping along the perimeter in those three decades. The seats rapidly emptying must have been a massive slap in the face.
You can be cruel and say maybe the players deserved it, but not always. This time there was nobody to celebrate with, and joyous as they seemed it felt a bit hollow. They weren’t getting what they deserved again, these “boys”.
That’s what Jurgen calls them, and I do too. I have to. The last time, there were people in the team older than me. That’s a brutal realisation if ever there was one.
Football without fans is nothing, a hoary cliché but no less true for that.
Outsiders have been yowling it for months, and it may surprise them to know Liverpudlians feel the same.
That said, if they hadn’t also fought tooth and nail for ‘null and void’ they’d have had noble allies to fight their cause to resume football when we could all go.
No one bolshier than Scousers, but let the world fume on. Whatever we do, they will anyway.
Just don’t leave it another 30 years now, boys.