Liverpool fans were urged to celebrate the club’s Premier League triumph at home after crowds gathered in the city for the second night in a row and stray fireworks apparently led to emergency services being called to the Liver Building.
Fans gathered in the city centre on Friday despite police and politicians warning them that coronavirus was still a “major risk”. It followed supporters packing into the area around Anfield on Thursday night when the club claimed the title as the final whistle blew in the match between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Merseyside police said it understood some people were “looking to come together” to mark the team becoming champions of England for the first time since 1990 again on Friday night, but warned fans to wait for official celebrations.
Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, tweeted that he was “really concerned” about the crowds on but said the council did not have the power to disperse the gathering. He said: “I am really concerned about scenes at Pier Head tonight. I appreciate #LFC fans want to celebrate but please, for your own safety, and that of others, go home and celebrate at home Covid-19 is still a major risk and our city has already lost far too many people to the illness.”
Mr Anderson, who described the scenes outside Anfield on Thursday as “disappointing”, said an official victory parade would be held once it was “really safe”. Liverpool city council said alternative plans were being made to mark the achievement in an “appropriate manner” at the end of the season in July.
Footage on social media showed fans with flares outside the Liver Building and a small fire on a balcony had to be put out. The Liverpool Echo quoted Merseyside fire and rescue as saying: “We were alerted to a small fire on a patch of astroturf. Firefighters have dealt with the incident and the fire is now out.”
Police have pointed out that Merseyside still has a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases compared to other parts of the country. Merseyside police’s assistant chief constable Jon Roy said: “We understand people want to celebrate Liverpool becoming Premier League champions for the first time in 30 years, and the time will come when fans can celebrate together with the team and applaud their achievement, but now is not that time.
“Please follow the advice of the players, the manager and the club by putting safety first. The club is encouraging fans to share their experiences of watching future games at home with the hashtag #LFCAtHome on social media, and we all look forward to sharing your experiences of celebrating safely.”