It’s been a year to the day now since Liverpool won the Premier League. Some will quibble not officially, perhaps; and not by trophy presentation, certainly. Still, it’s been a year since Liverpool won the Premier League. Their first league title since the old First Division days. Their first in three decades.
On January 19th, 2020, when the day started the Reds were in first place, 13 points ahead of title rivals Manchester City, with City having played two games more. By the end of it, they were 16 points clear and still with a game in hand after dispatching historic rivals Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield.
Unlike many games against United, this one played out a surprisingly open affair at times, and Liverpool’s quality had them on top early. A goal just 14 minutes in from Virgil van Dijk off a corner gave them a lead, and it looked for a time they might run away with it—only to find their best efforts undone.
First VAR overturned a Roberto Firmino curler after Van Dijk was adjudged to have fouled David de Gea. Then Gini Wijnaldum slotted home but was flagged offside. Then United started to have chances. In the midst of the season Liverpool were having, though, it was hard to feel overly nervous.
Liverpool in the midst of that heady 2019-20 season felt like a team that simply couldn’t lose. That confidence extended from the players to supporters to everyone watching at home. Still, United could be a frustrating opponent—and it was United that had stolen away their perch over three decades.
Beneath the well-earned aura of confidence there were still some nerves. Nerves and a three-decade buildup of emotions. For years of almost, of not quite, of being forced to watch Manchester United win domestic honours and leave Liverpool behind them, dreaming of their 80s heyday.
Then, stoppage time. In the 93rd minute, Mohamed Salah broke free, running the length of the United half with the ball at his feet, shrugging off a defender, and adding a second. His shirt sailed through the air in celebration. The game was over. The title race was over. Collectively, Anfield broke into song.
Now you’re gonna believe us, we’re going to win the league, they sang for the first time in that 2019-20 season. It was victory and catharsis. Three decades of emotion, of almost and nearly and not quite. Three decades of looking up at United domestically. Liverpool had, finally, won the league again.
It’s also probably the closest Liverpool fans will ever get to really celebrating that league title given everything that’s happened since. One day, perhaps later this year even, there will be a parade, but by then it will be a long-delayed thing. A chance to remember and thank those involved.
A year ago today, Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-0 and won the league for the first time in three decades as all of Anfield and Liverpool fans around the world rose and sang to celebrate it before spilling out of the stadium to hug and drink and laugh and cry. A year ago today was the moment.