Liverpool legend Ian Rush says Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions are "right up there" with the club's greatest teams.

And according to record Reds goalscorer Rush, Liverpool will be well placed to defend their title next season after ending a 30-year wait to land the English crown.

Manchester City's 2-1 loss at Chelsea on Thursday meant the Reds could not be caught at the summit.

Amid celebrations on Merseyside, Rush, a five-time league champion with Liverpool, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "This is for the younger generation. The younger generation must have been fed up of their parents or their grandparents saying, 'I remember when Liverpool won the league.'

"This younger generation can actually say now, 'I have seen Liverpool win the league.' And they can hopefully go on to bigger and better things.

"We've waited so long. At one stage you were thinking: will the season be finished?

"We got there in the end. I think it's going to be a very, very good few days."

Rush was a member of the 1990 championship-winning side and felt it would have been seen as ridiculous at the time to suggest Liverpool would not land another top-flight title until 2020.

"If you'd asked me that in 1990, would that be the case, I'd have just laughed and said, 'Don't be stupid.' It's like the Holy Grail - great managers have tried and failed, and Jurgen Klopp has come and delivered and it's absolutely amazing for the club," Rush said.

The Liverpool teams of the 1970s and 1980s were trophy-winning machines, but Rush says the current breed bear comparison to those sides.

"I say you can compare teams when they've won things and now this team have won things," Rush said. "To break records for Liverpool Football Club they'd have to be right up there. It's as simple as that. The stats tell you the story."

The record in Liverpool's sights is for the most points accumulated in a Premier League season, with 15 points required from seven games to pass Manchester City's total of 100 from the 2017-18 campaign.

"If they can go on and win five of those seven games, which I think they'll be going for as well, they'd have to be right up there," Rush said.

"We always got told at Liverpool that the easiest thing is winning it, the hardest thing is retaining it. I tell you what, this side are quite capable of doing that, and the next three to five years I think Liverpool are in a very good place.

"These players will become legends of Liverpool and rightly, deservedly so. Hopefully this is just the start of things."

Manchester City were merely reigning Premier League champions from around the turn of the year. Any meaningful title defence ended a long time ago.

After amassing an astounding 198 points over the course of consecutive championship-winning campaigns, Pep Guardiola's men were unable to summon an adequate response in the face of Liverpool's relentless onslaught.

City's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge completed the formalities, meaning Guardiola's plans over how to wrest back control should already be well underway.

Here, we look at the areas where he and the Etihad Stadium's brain trust should be focusing their attention.

 

ADDRESS OBVIOUS GAPS IN THE SQUAD

Guardiola's suggestion at the end of last week that he might not seek a like-for-like replacement for Leroy Sane if the Germany winger completes his long-mooted switch to Bayern Munich understandably caused consternation among City fans. Vincent Kompany's influence and aura were irreplaceable when he called time on his career in Manchester in May 2019, but a new centre-back would certainly have come in handy.

The cruciate knee ligament injury that decimated Aymeric Laporte's campaign left Fernandinho simultaneously learning a new position and standing in as City's most reliable option in central defence, as Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones laboured. A high-quality partner for Laporte must be the number one transfer market priority.

A natural left-winger is also needed. Sane has been another long-term injury victim this term and, without that option, City's attacks have sometimes become narrow and predictable. On the subject of cruciate knee ligament injuries, Benjamin Mendy looks to have put a nightmarish two years behind him, although he endured a game to forget against Chelsea. It would be foolish to count on the France international's fitness holding for long and links to England left-back Ben Chilwell are understandable.

RECHARGE AND REPLENISH STAR MEN

The three positions above are likely to be the limit of City's ambitions in an uncertain market, with the depth of coronavirus' impact upon football finances yet to be fully realised. Whether or not the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for sport overturns or reduces their two-season Champions League ban must also be factored into any plans.

The good thing for Guardiola is the fact that plenty of room for improvement lies within. Aside from the imperious Kevin De Bruyne and the ever-prolific Sergio Aguero, it is hard to identify a senior City player who can be wholly satisfied with their efforts this term. Ederson's three errors leading to a goal are second only to Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (five) in the division, while Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling have at times appeared burned out following the exertions of a triumphant 2018-19.

UNLEASH PHIL FODEN

David Silva's departure at the end of this season was expected to usher in Phil Foden to blossom as the master's apprentice. This has been muddied slightly by the England Under-21 star's best performances coming in a wide attacking role, most notably his man-of-the-match outing in the EFL Cup final and his two-goal showing in the recent 5-0 demolition of Burnley. He was badly missed at Chelsea.

Guardiola loves players who are adept in a number of roles and Foden has thrived regardless of what his brief is on any given stage. The academy product has long looked a player at home in this City team; he now seems like one who could significantly elevate it. It is time to let him fly.

REMAIN BANNED FROM THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

From having to scale down more ambitious transfer targets to tackling some awkward conversations with star players over their immediate futures, the seismic blow of City's exclusion from the Champions League holding firm should not be underplayed. However, if we are looking at this purely in terms of their chances of winning a third Premier League title in four seasons, a coach of Guardiola's calibre getting free midweeks to hone his side to his version of perfection is something of which Liverpool and others would be right to be wary.

DON'T ACTUALLY CHANGE TOO MUCH

Under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, City compiled deplorably meek title defences. The clear daylight between themselves and Liverpool this time around makes it tempting to lump their 2019-20 efforts in with those other failures. But there is an important wider context. The Manchester United and Chelsea sides that unseated Mancini and Pellegrini were not a patch on Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool machine. This City had won six of the previous seven domestic honours on offer and could conceivably finish 2019-20 with the FA Cup and that elusive Champions League nestled alongside the EFL Cup in the trophy cabinet.

Also, it is not a slight on the Reds' brilliance to note most things that could have fallen in their favour this season have. That is inevitable. City sealed their 100-point season with a last-minute winner at Southampton, having beaten Saints, Bournemouth, West Ham and Huddersfield Town in similar fashion before the turn of the year. Mind-boggling deeds require a certain level of fortune.

Heading into their game at Chelsea, City were still ahead of Liverpool by five points with a game in hand in Opta's Expected Goals league table (Yes, yes… when's the parade?!?!). Liverpool's brutally clinical efforts are to be admired, but the underlying numbers suggest such a gulf will not become the norm.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich appear to be keen on adding more local talent to their squad.

Spaniard Thiago Alcantara is reportedly unwilling to extend his Bayern contract beyond 2020-21.

So, Bayern could use the star midfielder in their efforts to prise Germany international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT THIAGO OUT AND HAVERTZ IN

Bayern Munich want to sell Thiago Alcantara to fund their move for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to Kicker.

Thiago reportedly wants to leave Bayern amid links to Liverpool after opting against a new deal in Bavaria.

Now, Bayern are looking to offload Thiago for €60million (£53m) in order to sign Havertz for €80m.

Havertz has also been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Munich and Kicker also claims Bayern have joined Borussia Dortmund and United in the race for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham.

- TF1 says Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has been in contact with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Inter over an exit from London.

Liverpool have made a big offer to sign Wolves speedster Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. Traore has also been linked to the likes of Barca and Madrid.

- According to Fichajes, Tottenham have made an offer for in-demand Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The likes of Napoli, Everton and Madrid are also looking to sign the Brazilian.

- Is Hellas Verona's Marash Kumbulla set for Lazio? Gianluca Di Marzio reports Lazio have tabled an offer for the defender, who is also wanted by Juventus and Inter.

- Could Tanguy Ndombele and Philippe Coutinho swap clubs? The Independent says Barca have reached out to Tottenham over an exchange deal involving either Coutinho or Nelson Semedo for wantaway Spurs midfielder Ndombele.

Arsenal could make moves for Chelsea's Willian or Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

Milan are in talks over the return of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, says Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at San Siro.

Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold said winning the Premier League is "something we've always dreamed of" after the club's drought ended on Thursday.

For the first time since 1990, Liverpool were crowned English champions thanks to Manchester City's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Chelsea.

Liverpool, who have only lost once this season with 28 wins in 31 matches, cannot be caught with seven games to spare in the Premier League.

Alexander-Arnold – born in Liverpool – revelled in the triumph, telling the club's website: "It hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe tomorrow morning it will sink in, we're just trying to soak in the moment right now.

"But it's something that people will remember for a very long time. The fans and the team have waited so long for this. It's something very special. Hopefully we will be able to soak it all in."

"We probably thought as a team we would be able to do it ourselves, but we don't really care how we did it at the end of the day," the 21-year-old England full-back said.

"We are Premier League champions and we are proud of that.

"Obviously things are not as we imagined probably a few months ago or even a year ago how we imagined to win the Premier League, but we are not going to complain and make a fuss of.

"It's something we've always dreamed of. As fans I think it's something that will always be remembered."

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum added: "It's difficult to describe but I can say that I'm really happy and really pleased that I can be a part of this team, be a part of this club. 

"And I'm really happy that this time we can give this title to the supporters because they have waited so long for this title. The supporters were so loyal during the years since I'm here and even before I came here. 

"That makes it more beautiful because when you have such loyal supporters and you can give them one of the best gifts, it makes it more beautiful than it is."

Virgil van Dijk believes Liverpool have reached a "different level" on their way to the Premier League title this season.

Liverpool were crowned league champions for the first time since 1990 on Thursday, when Manchester City fell to defeat at Chelsea.

Van Dijk arrived at Anfield in January 2018 and is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, having now added a league title to last year's Champions League success.

The Netherlands international feels Liverpool – who have won 28 of 31 league games this season – have reached new heights in 2019-20.

"To be absolutely honest when I joined in the winter I hoped for the best in the first six months, I hoped to settle as quickly as I can," Van Dijk told BT Sport.

"To reach the Champions League final straight away was a big boost for me personally. It was something that helped me a lot and obviously the year after we came very close with the Premier League and we were very lucky enough and blessed that we could win the Champions League.

"And this year, especially the league, we have been taking it to a different level and everyone can have their opinions and stuff, but we have been so consistent.

"We have been doing so well in different parts of our game, whether it is that we have to dig deep and do it in the last couple of minutes of the game or do it comfortably as well and it's a fantastic feeling and I'm very, very proud that I'm a Premier League winner as well."

Van Dijk's interview was crashed by his team-mates celebrating their success, with Liverpool 23 points clear at the top with seven games remaining.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar and Liverpool part-owner LeBron James celebrated the Reds' Premier League triumph.

Liverpool ended a 30-year wait to be crowned English champions thanks to Manchester City's 2-1 Premier League loss to Chelsea on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool became the first Anfield side to claim a league crown since 1990 with seven games remaining in 2019-20.

Three-time NBA champion James, who purchased a minority stake in Liverpool in 2011, reacted to the club's success via social media.

James tweeted: "PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LET'S GO @LFC #YNWA."

Liverpool – who have won 28 of their 31 league fixtures in 2019-20 – celebrated yet another piece of silverware after winning the Champions League last season.

It has proven to be a smart piece of business by owners Fenway Sports Group, who took over Liverpool in 2010.

Liverpool principle owner John Henry wrote via Twitter: "This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club.

"It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.

"The world has watched the fierce determination of this club on the field for every single match – the preparation, the resolve and the talent of those who put together perhaps the greatest league performance ever in any country's history.

"This in addition to winning a European championship, a Super Cup and a world championship -- the totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy. LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.

"It is said, 'We are Liverpool.' You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward -- a historic club making history once again."

Mohamed Salah thanked Liverpool's fans after the club claimed a first league title since 1990.

Liverpool celebrated their first English top-flight success in 30 years following Manchester City's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool – who have only lost once in the league this season – cannot be caught atop the table with seven matches remaining in 2019-20.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on ending their drought last season, finishing just a point behind City, and star forward Salah revelled in the team's triumph this term.

Salah wrote via Twitter: "Yes. It feels THAT good. I want to thank all our supporters watching us from all corners of the world.

"You made this possible for us and I hope we can keep bringing you the joy you deserve. Now they're gonna believe us."

Liverpool, who claimed the 2018-19 Champions League, have won 28 of their 31 Premier League matches this season.

"As a squad we're so close. We love coming in to training every single day. If somebody is having a bad game, we dig them out of a hole and we stick together on the pitch, we stick together off the pitch – that's why this squad is so special. I love being a part of it," Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson told Liverpoolfc.com.

"We're all kind of brothers and we have a dad figure in the gaffer and he's the one that leads us in the right direction. Him and his staff have been second to none, to be fair, since I've came here. This season they've been excellent to us going, keep us hungry, keep us motivated.

"Motivation has never been a struggle. As players we've always been hungry and we always wanted to win trophies for this club. Luckily, we're now showing that in the last 12 months."

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool's Premier League victory exceeded his dreams as the emotional Reds manager celebrated a drought-ending triumph.

Liverpool ended a 30-year wait to be crowned English champions thanks to Manchester City's 2-1 Premier League loss to Chelsea on Thursday.

Klopp's Liverpool became the first Anfield side to claim a league crown since 1990 with seven games remaining in 2019-20.

Asked if he could sum up his emotions, Klopp – who replaced Brendan Rodgers in 2015 – told Liverpoolfc.com: "No, unfortunately not because if I tried to start talking about it [how I feel] again I will start crying again and that doesn't work really well!

"I am completely overwhelmed; I don't know, it's a mix of everything – I am relieved, I am happy, I am proud. I couldn't be more proud of the boys. How we watched the game tonight together, we knew it could happen, it couldn't not happen, we didn't know. We want to play football and we are really happy that we are allowed to play again – then when it happened in that moment, it was a pure explosion.

"When we counted down the last five seconds of the game, the ref counted down a little bit longer than us so we had to look at two or three more passes! Then it was pure… I cannot describe it. It was a really, really nice moment. Directly after it, I felt so empty inside – I cannot believe it, I am really not happy with myself in the moment that I feel like I feel, but it's just a little bit too much in the moment. I will be fine, nobody has to worry. I actually couldn't be happier; I couldn't have dreamed of something like that and I never did before last year, honestly.

"We were not close enough three years ago, a year ago we were really close… what the boys have done in the last two and a half years, the consistency they show is absolutely incredible and second to none. Honestly, I have no idea how we do that all the time. Last night, a very good example – we played a game like the stadium is fully packed and everybody is shouting 'Liverpool' or whatever constantly. It is a wonderful moment, that's what I can say."

Klopp, who led Liverpool to Champions League glory last season, added: "Thirty years ago… I was 23, so I didn't think too much about winning a title with Liverpool, to be honest! I had no skills for that!

"Thirty years later I am here and because of the great staff I have, it is unbelievable. Tonight, you see them all together. What Ray [Haughan] did organisational wise, what Mona [Nemmer] did food wise and with nutrition is amazing. What Korny [Andreas Kornmayer] did on a fitness level, what Pep Lijnders did and put into this game, there is so much of his soul in our game now in this short period. It is unbelievable. Pete [Krawietz]… wow… what a… I couldn't thank them all more. Vitor [Matos] came in and he has lost one game since he is in.

"Unbelievable. The youth, the players, Neco Williams would not be in this moment or the position he is, or Curtis [Jones], or Harvey [Elliott] or now Leighton [Clarkson] coming up and Jake Cain coming up, they would not be in this position if Vitor is not here. John [Achterberg] and Jack [Robinson], it is a joy to work with them together every day. It is for Danielle, my PA who I didn't see for three and a half or four months but she is working her socks off and suffers so much.

"It is for everybody. It is for Mike [Gordon], Tom [Werner] and John [Henry], our owners in America. We couldn't reach other, I have 20 calls and them probably as well because I couldn't catch him so far. It is for everybody; they all put so much effort into it and I am the lucky guy who sits in the seat in this moment and… can be part of this story, it's so great it is unbelievable."

Jordan Henderson said it was an "amazing feeling" after Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's men secured the title after Manchester City fell to defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool captain Henderson said it was incredible to deliver the club's first league crown since 1990.

"Amazing, it's hard to describe to be honest, but after the final whistle it was just an amazing feeling again, especially to spend it with all the lads and the staff," he told the club's website.

"To finally get over the line is a relief but also an amazing feeling."

Liverpool fell just short of the title last season, finishing a point behind Manchester City despite managing to earn 97 for the campaign.

Henderson praised his side's response, having won 28 of 31 Premier League games this season.

"I think you can use that as a motivation and that as extra energy to keep going and to want to do it really, to want to get over the line and finish the job off," he said.

"Last season we played so well and were so unlucky, but City were amazing and they managed pip us in the end. We kept going right until the last day and that's all we could ask for really.

"Obviously a few weeks later winning the Champions League helped, and then I think we've kicked on again and we've been unbelievable this season.

"For now it's about keeping on improving, keeping on doing the things we've been doing to get to this point but also keep improving, learning even more and if we do that then I'm pretty sure there'll be more trophies available to us in the near future."

Steven Gerrard congratulated the "fantastic" Liverpool squad after the club were crowned Premier League champions on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool cannot be caught atop the table after Manchester City fell to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

It marked Liverpool's first league title since 1990 in an achievement they never managed during Gerrard's 17 years at the club as a player.

Gerrard congratulated Liverpool and Klopp, as well as owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).

"Congratulations to all @liverpoolfc on winning the Premier League," the Rangers manager wrote on Instagram.

"Incredible achievement from a fantastic squad of top players. Led by a world class manager and coaching team also a special mention for the backing from FSG.

"And lastly and most importantly the fans who have waited 30 years. Let the party begin."

Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday saw Liverpool crowned Premier League champions.

It ends a 30-year wait to reign supreme in England's top flight for the Anfield club and means Jurgen Klopp's stars will be rightly celebrated.

Becoming champions with seven matches to spare underlines the dominant nature of a campaign masterminded by their brilliant manager.

As such, a host of Liverpool players are expected to be in the running for the end-of-season awards.

But which of Klopp's heroes has been the most important to the cause? Here, our writers pick out who has been the star turn and state their case.

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – Dom Farrell

The majestic front three and the defensive solidity acquired through the astute big-money purchases of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk are the twin pillars of this Liverpool triumph, but Trent Alexander-Arnold gives them their x-factor. Shut down Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino if you can, but then find yourself terrorised by a lavishly talented youngster who might yet redefine what the modern full-back looks like.

Lethal from both open play and dead ball situations, the 21-year-old has been the Reds' main creative force this term and it's not even particularly close. Andy Robertson is second to Alexander-Arnold's 12 assists with eight, while the right-back's 78 chances created dwarf the next best return – 49 from Salah.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Ryan Benson

Van Dijk has been the one ever-present for Liverpool this season, starting every single Premier League match. The Dutchman leads the way for clean sheets in the division with 14.

Throughout the campaign he has been the ultimate assuring presence at the back, from his exceptional reading of the game, dominant physicality and fine technical ability. While Salah, Mane and Firmino may be responsible for most of the goals, they would also be significantly worse off without Van Dijk, whose impact at Anfield continues to amaze.

JORDAN HENDERSON – Rob Lancaster

If Van Dijk is the Rolls Royce at the back and the forward trio are sports cars capable of going from 0-60mph in a hurry, Jordan Henderson is the equivalent to a five-door family hatchback. Flashy? No. Supremely reliable? Absolutely. 

Under Klopp, the Reds' win percentage is almost 13 per cent higher (68.8 per cent compared to 56) when Henderson plays. Their only league defeat so far this season, away to Watford, came without the skipper in the line-up.

The midfielder has contributed in attack, providing five assists and grabbing three goals in 2019-20, but that's not his major purpose. Henderson knows his role and plays it to perfection, serving as the manager's on-field lieutenant as he passes and presses relentlessly to help break opposition teams down. Having lifted the Champions League last season, now he has captained Liverpool to domestic glory too.

SADIO MANE – Joe Wright

It's often said the mark of champions is to win not just when playing well, but when victory seems beyond you. Sometimes – if not often – Liverpool have been up against it and in need of a saviour. More often than not, that saviour has been Sadio Mane. 

Mane has been Liverpool's most impressive attacking player all season, his all-round game now honed to a frighteningly high level that has produced 15 goals and seven assists. Those goals have been undeniably crucial, yielding 18 points in 2019-20, a tally nobody in the Premier League can better. If ever Liverpool looked likely to falter, Mane's goals kept them on course.

MOHAMED SALAH – Liam Blackburn

Salah's prolific debut season following his arrival from Roma – he scored 44 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 – raised the bar ridiculously high. Even in the previous campaign, no one scored more in the Premier League than the Egyptian's 22 and he is once again Liverpool's leading marksman in 2019-20.  

His total of 21 goals in all competitions sees him average one every 146 minutes, while no one in the Premier League has scored more than Salah's seven match-winners.

However, Salah is about more than just goals. He has created 49 chances and provided seven assists. Liverpool's struggles to break down a stubborn Everton defence when the 28-year-old remained on the bench throughout their first game after the lockdown only underlined his importance.

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was overwhelmed at Liverpool's achievement in winning the Premier League after they were confirmed as champions, describing it as an "incredible moment" for all linked to the club.

Manchester City's 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Thursday means the Reds cannot be caught at the top of the table, securing the Merseyside club's first title in 30 years with seven games to spare.

Liverpool have lost just once in the league and despite a delay in the campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was always a matter of when, not if, they would be crowned upon the resumption.

Klopp becomes the first Reds manager to win the league since Kenny Dalglish, though the German was struggling to comprehend the accomplishment during the immediate aftermath.

"I have no words – it's unbelievable, much more than I ever thought would be possible, becoming champions with this club is absolutely incredible," he told Sky Sports after watching the City game with his players and staff.

"It's an incredible moment. My coaching staff, I couldn't be more proud of what they did in the last few years. It's just a really exciting ride since the first day I arrived until today. It's not over yet, that's the good thing. 

"They have a few good years in their legs so we will try [to win again]. But tonight we will just enjoy this moment. It's more than I ever dreamed of, to be honest."

The former Borussia Dortmund boss arrived at Anfield in October 2015 and has become immersed in both the club and the city.

He made clear his delight for the supporters having fallen just short last season, though admitted there was also a sense of relief after such a lengthy pause while the country was dealing with the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"I didn't wait 30 years, I've been here four and a half. We didn't really have a chance before, last year was the first time," Klopp continued.

"Anyway, it's a relief because of the three-month interruption. Nobody knew how it would go on and then you don't know 100 per cent how you will come back. Every game is difficult in the Premier League. The game last night [against Crystal Palace] gave me the feeling that we will be fine, it was important for the players and the supporters. 

"It's for you [supporters] out there. I hope you stay at home, go to the front of your house if you want, but do no more, and celebrate it. 

"We do it together in this moment. It's a joy to do it for you."

Klopp also praised his players, adding: "It's a wonderful mix. They are all winners without winning 15 times in the past. It means we have them here and we can start winning together. 

"Three years ago we played a really good season and I think we finished fourth. It was clear that we lacked consistency, but you cannot ask for that and the boys deliver, you have to work on that and create that, convince people. That's what we did together. 

"Without the players I can do nothing, but from time to time you have to help them with a few words."

Before departing, an emotional Klopp signed off by saying: "I'm completely overwhelmed, I never would have thought that I would feel like this."

It may have taken a few months longer than it should have because of the coronavirus pandemic, but at long last Liverpool are Premier League champions.

Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday finally made it mathematically impossible for Pep Guardiola's men to catch the Reds, leaving Liverpool to celebrate a first ever Premier League title.

Having come close to ending their barren run a few times over the past three decades before falling short, Liverpool were plagued by suggestions they may not be able to handle the pressure in their quest to claim a first league championship since 1990.

But in reality this was a forgone conclusion for a long time, having dropped points just once in their first 27 league matches this term.

Following confirmation of their historic achievement, we crunched the Opta numbers and looked at the key areas of their squad this season.

Dynamic and dependable at the back

Liverpool's excellence in attack is obvious – few clubs in Europe can boast a more effective front three, but at the back they are similarly impressive.

Virgil van Dijk is the key figure, of course, and the Dutchman has led by example from the back again this term. He has started all 31 of Liverpool's matches, the only Reds player to do so, and he has helped keep a league-high 14 clean sheets.

But Alisson's importance is also easy to highlight. The Brazilian missed a chunk of the season due to injury, yet he's only two shy of Van Dijk in the clean sheet stakes.

But in the modern game there is more to defenders than just ensuring the opposition don't score – full-backs are expected to be creative, and Liverpool embody that perfectly.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has laid on 12 assists this season – a figure bettered only by Kevin De Bruyne – and created 78 chances, 29 more than the Reds' second most creative player. On top of that, Andy Robertson has eight assists to his name, the joint-fourth best in the league.

Henderson the unsung hero in midfield

Throughout his career, Jordan Henderson has polarised opinion – but the only point of view that counts here is Klopp's, and the data shows the former Sunderland star's influence.

Since Klopp joined the club, Liverpool's win frequency in the league is 13 per cent better with Henderson in the team than when he is absent.

Indeed, their solitary league defeat this term – at Watford in February – came when Henderson was not in the team.

Henderson has played 125 Premier League matches for Klopp, losing just 11. In the same period, the Reds have lost 10 times from just 50 games without him.

He may not attract the plaudits like those scoring and creating the goals, but there's little doubt his functionality helps Liverpool and aids their more technically gifted superstars.

Triple threat

Is there a better front three in world football than Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah? While difficult to absolutely prove, they are undoubtedly vital to this Liverpool team.

All three are in double figures for goal involvements, with Firmino on 15 (eight goals, seven assists), 22 for Mane (15 goals, seven assists) and Salah in front with 24 (17 goals, seven assists).

Salah has found the net every 137 minutes in the league this term, the best in the team, though Mane's 25 per cent conversion rate is significantly better than the Egyptian's 17 per cent.

All three have a habit of being decisive when it matters too. No one in the entire league has scored more winning goals than Salah (seven), though Mane and Firmino are just behind him with six.

Similarly, Mane's 15 goals have led to 18 points, a Premier League-high in 2019-20.

Liverpool have been utterly ruthless this season, their remarkable 23-point cushion after 31 matches undeniable proof of their relentlessness and brilliance.

Having achieved levels of consistency that have effectively never been seen before in the Premier League era, one has to wonder what it will take to stop Klopp's Reds.

Liverpool have finally ended their wait for a breakthrough Premier League title, securing top-flight silverware for the first time since 1990.

Jurgen Klopp's men led the way as early as August and never relinquished their grasp on first place.

Unlike in the near misses in 2008-09, 2013-14 and 2018-19, the Reds would not be caught, with Manchester City and the rest of the Premier League trailing in their wake.

City's 2-1 loss at Chelsea on Thursday clinched the championship, but there were a number of key results along the way. We take a look.
 

Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City - September 14

Pep Guardiola's side blinked first in the title race. Although City had already dropped points at home to Tottenham before visiting Norwich, it appeared the defending champions would again match Liverpool stride for stride. But one of the upsets of the season sent shockwaves through the division in matchweek five.

City lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee ligament injury the previous weekend, and John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi endured a miserable evening as Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki scored at Carrow Road. Liverpool had earlier come from behind to beat Newcastle United, establishing a strong early advantage.

Sheffield United 0-1 Liverpool - September 28

Liverpool did eventually drop points for the first time against Manchester United in October, but their winning start continued to that point despite a serious test against newly promoted Sheffield United.

The Blades have been a surprise package this season and were perhaps good value for a point against Klopp's men, only for an uncharacteristic error by goalkeeper Dean Henderson - on loan from rivals United - to gift Georginio Wijnaldum a precious 70th-minute winner.

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool - November 2

It is often said that the best teams win even when they do not play well, and the victory at Sheffield United was far from unique in that sense. Indeed, at Villa Park, Liverpool were heading for defeat until the 87th minute.

However, Andy Robertson stole in for a late equaliser, and then Sadio Mane incredibly clinched victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It was the second such comeback from the Reds in two weeks, having previously rallied against Tottenham at Anfield in a crucial stretch that included a dramatic win over Leicester City and their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City - November 10

And eight days on from the win at Villa, Liverpool increased their lead at the top of the table to eight points with victory over City, who were left a further point back in fourth. With the Reds' failure to beat Guardiola's side home or away in 2018-19 proving costly, this success represented a huge boost.

The match was not without its controversies, however, as City fumed at an apparent Trent Alexander-Arnold handball in the build-up to Fabinho's opener. The right-back looked to be guilty of the same offence again late in the game, with no penalty given, as Mohamed Salah and Mane also netted in a mammoth triumph.

Liverpool 2-0 Watford - December 14

Along with the run of fixtures leading into that City game, December represented a key spell for Liverpool as their title bid was disrupted by the Club World Cup. Watford would be the side to finally beat the Reds in February and, in the final match before the FIFA tournament, they gave it a good go at Anfield, too.

Nigel Pearson's first game in charge of the Hornets saw Liverpool troubled throughout, and not until Salah struck his second in the 90th minute were the points made safe.

Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool - December 26

Liverpool won the Club World Cup in Qatar, but it was like they had never been away when their league campaign resumed on Boxing Day. Leicester were second when the teams met but were blown away on their own patch.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring before the break and then netted again, along with James Milner and Alexander-Arnold, in a ruthless eight-minute second-half spell. City lost at Wolves the following day - their second defeat of December - and the title race already looked to have been run.

Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City - February 2

Liverpool were relentless over the festive period, and their rivals' struggles meant Klopp's side could even afford a slow restart following the February mid-season break. Any slim City hopes of a spectacular pursuit of the Anfield club were surely already over in defeat at Tottenham prior to the weekend off.

Ilkay Gundogan missed a penalty, Oleksandr Zinchenko was sent off, and Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min netted. Bernardo Silva subsequently moaned City "gave up a bit too soon" in the title race. When Guardiola's men went down 2-0 again at Manchester United a month later, Liverpool were on the brink.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.