It was not Anfield, it was not on the field of play and there could be no crowd to drive them on, but there was something about celebrating Liverpool’s title triumph at Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa on Thursday night that felt right to Andy Robertson. An exclusive occasion to join an exclusive club.
Madrid had been a magnificent party last June for players who made Liverpool champions of Europe for a sixth time. Thursday would eventually become one for the same outstanding group who, in the space of 13 unprecedented months, have added that coveted 19th league championship to a trophy haul that includes the Club World Cup and the Uefa Super Cup.
We have all seen the video highlights by now – the release when Stuart Attwell blew the final whistle at Stamford Bridge, Jürgen Klopp crying, Jürgen Klopp dancing, players cavorting as if they were back in the dressing room of the Estadio Metropolitano and not some spa resort off the Formby bypass. But this was a celebration only for those inside Liverpool’s Project Restart bubble – the players and coaching staff who brought 30 years of torment to an emphatic close. For those who have worked tirelessly together for this moment, and have perhaps been brought even closer by the events of the past few months, less meant more.
“It was a personal night,” a weary Robertson reflected on Friday morning. “In Madrid we had all our families there but there were also corporate people there and it was one big party, more of a socialising party. Last night was probably more emotional. You got to have more one-to-one chats, group chats and reflect on the season. It was really personal last night. Only the people who have been in Melwood every day for the last 12 months were there. That is what made it so special.
“We all came together and we were all hoping that Chelsea would get the win. Luckily they produced it and the party could really start. It went long into the night and rightly so. We deserve it and we have put so much work into it.”
Liverpool’s bubble spent the night in a hotel after destroying Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday, just as they did after the sterile return against Everton. The following morning it was decided that, with a week until their next game against Manchester City, Thursday afforded the best opportunity for a communal celebration should the result at Stamford Bridge go Liverpool’s way. Hence the booking with Formby Hall.
Robertson explained: “We thought if Man City win, which would not have been a surprise, the worst case is we have a team‑bonding barbecue, go home and try to get a point at the Etihad next week. That is all we would have needed. It just felt the right thing to do because if we were all sitting in the house last night it would not have been the same. We wanted to be together. We have had a long season and been through so much together and not celebrating with the lads would have been the wrong thing to do. We absolutely made the right call and luckily it went for us.”
There was no state-of-the-nation address from Klopp to his players in the aftermath of their coronation. Given the emotion of the television interviews the Liverpool manager gave, it is debatable he would have got through one anyway. But everything had already been said. “The gaffer does speeches every day but last night there was no need,” Robertson said. “There was enough emotion in the room that there was probably no need for him to speak. You see his emotion in some of the interviews that he’s done. A lot of us were like that.
“There were no need for big speeches, it was lads just trying to drink it in and enjoy the moment because we have done something that people at this club haven’t done before. We’ve got a Premier League trophy in the trophy cabinet for Liverpool now. That’s all we wanted at the start of the season and to achieve that is so special. It’s something we will never forget. Hopefully there is a couple more before this squad has to retire. That’s the aim. We want to win more trophies and hopefully we can start on that next season.”
Robertson believes last season’s Champions League final ultimately separated Liverpool from the chasing pack, and by a record‑breaking distance so far. He said: “The Champions League made us winners and we got the feeling for it. That’s why we came back in pre‑season as if this year was going to be our year for the Premier League. We are going to show everyone we can win the league, and we can go again and get the better of Man City this time and not be behind them. We’ve been in a league of our own this season.”
The 26-year-old had not scrolled through his many messages by Friday morning but his parents, brother, wife and children were the first people he planned to thank for his rise to European, world and Premier League champion. The importance of being the one Scottish player in a Liverpool title-winning team was also not lost on the full‑back, who follows in the footsteps of Dalglish, Souness, Hansen and Liddell among others.
“A lot of people mentioned the Scottish connection as soon as I joined and how most of the time Liverpool won trophies there was a Scot in the squad. I looked to continue that and be a lucky omen as such and carry the Scottish flag, keeping the relationship between Liverpool and Scotland going. I hope to continue that and someone will eventually take over because this is the greatest club in the world and I want Scottish players to play here.
“There have been so many fantastic names that have done it here over the years and I have never thought of reaching the level of Kenny Dalglish or somebody like that. But I would like to win a similar amount of trophies. We are writing our own history at an already historic club.”