Nine arrests as thousands gather outside Anfield to celebrate Premier League win

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Nine people were arrested as thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside Anfield to celebrate the club’s Premier League win, despite warnings to stay at home.

Merseyside Police introduced a 48-hour dispersal zone around the ground during the club’s match against Chelsea on Wednesday night but the force said only nine arrests were made, despite large numbers of supporters congregating outside the Kop end.

A heavy police presence was in force as the Reds celebrated a 5-3 victory and lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in 30 years.

Ahead of the match, the club, council, police and supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly had urged people to celebrate from their homes.

“This is a dress rehearsal for when we can all celebrate together safely.”

Assistant Chief Constable Natalie Perischine, from Merseyside Police, said: “Officers made a total of nine arrests outside Anfield last night for affray, assault, people who were drunk and disorderly and drug-driving.

“The vast majority of the crowd were good-natured and had dispersed by 2am.

“Thankfully we didn’t see the sort of incidents of disorder and criminal damage we saw at the Pier Head on June 27, the investigation into which has seen more than 20 arrests made to date.

“If you did witness any criminal or anti-social behaviour last night, let us know and we will investigate fully.”

There were no fans inside the ground as the trophy presentation was made, but outside, in Walton Breck Road, crowds erupted into huge cheers as fireworks went off over Anfield.

Police officers, who stood in cordons across the road, took flares from some fans but did not stop them joining the crowd.

Liverpool City Council said teams had been in the area early on Thursday morning to clear up the streets and tweeted a video showing discarded cans and bottles left in the area.

It said: “We know people wanted to celebrate last night but social distancing is vital in helping us #staysafe, protecting each other, our families and the NHS.”

Ms Perischine added: “Although the numbers who gathered last night could have been significantly higher, it is still disappointing that people did not listen to requests from ourselves, Liverpool Football Club and Liverpool City Council not to gather in large numbers because of the risks still posed by Covid-19.

“We are all still in unprecedented times due to the pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy, so I want to take this opportunity to again urge people to act sensibly, follow Government guidance and keep themselves and each other safe.”

Thousands of supporters celebrated outside Anfield last month when the team’s first top-flight title in 30 years was confirmed and huge numbers gathered at the city’s Pier Head the following night, where police reported violent confrontations.

The dispersal zone around Anfield will remain in place until 9.30pm on Friday and officers will continue to patrol the area, Ms Perischine said.

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