But once Mo Salah’s late strike secured a 2-0 win over Manchester United, you got the feeling the party to end a three-decade wait for the title had just begun.
Even the most pessimistic of Liverpool fans and optimistic of Manchester City fans will probably now admit this season’s Premier League title race is over.
After Pep Guardiola’s side could only muster a disappointing draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have now extended their lead at the top of the table to 16 points.
While the scoreline alone makes this game seem like a somewhat tight affair, it was anything but.
Under a brilliant red sky at Anfield, the gulf in quality between these two teams was plain for everyone to see and victory for Liverpool means the club is now 30 points better off than Manchester United this season.
After today’s match, you were left wondering how it was only 30.
Aside from a brief spell on pressure early in the second half, Manchester United had no answer to the relentless red wave that descended time and again on its goal.
When Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring for Liverpool after just 14 minutes — towering above everybody in the box to head home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner — the only surprise was that it had taken that long.
Curiously, Manchester United is the only team this season to have taken points off Liverpool in the Premier League, holding the champion-elect to a 1-1 draw back in October.
As the first half wore on, the visiting side’s defense continued to wilt under pressure and Liverpool found VAR to be a far more stubborn opponent than United’s backline.
Not once, but twice was the home side denied by the video assistant referee; the first for Van Dijk’s foul on David de Gea and the second for a fractional offside decision.
Liverpool was cruising at half time, though if any particularly jittery fans did need some extra comforting, the Reds hadn’t lost a home Premier League game when leading at the interval for 10 years, a run stretching back 102 matches.
Two minutes into the second half, Salah had one of the easiest chances he’ll ever have to score but somehow fluffed his shot from three yards out wide of the post.
It was a let off for Manchester United — whose players looked to have started the second period half asleep — and just seconds later some sloppy play at the back gifted the ball to Jordan Henderson, who crashed an effort off the outside of the post.
Those missed opportunities seemed to spark life into United and Anthony Martial squandered his side’s only real chance of the match, blazing his shot wildly over the bar when it looked easier to score.
With the visiting side throwing all its men forward in search of a later equalizer, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson hit a stunning pass upfield to find Salah completely unmarked.
United winger Daniel James did well to get back but the Egyptian held off his challenge and coolly slotted the ball under De Gea to send Anfield into rapture.
“And now you’re gonna believe us,” the fans continued. “We’re going to win the league.”