LIVERPOOL, England — The genie is out of the bottle. When Mohamed Salah lifted the tension inside Anfield by making it 2-0 against Manchester United in the 93rd minute, the roar from The Kop was almost on the same decibel level as the night Liverpool came back from 3-0 down against Barcelona in the Champions League last season.
It was relief, meshed with belief, and for the first time, the home supporters chanted “We’re gonna win the league,” despite it being pretty obvious to everyone else for weeks that Jurgen Klopp’s team are going to be crowned champions of England this season, maybe even in record time.
The fans had not dared to sing it until now because, since the last title success in 1990, the club has had so many false dawns and near misses that even mentioning impending glory had been regarded as tempting fate and the surest sign that something will go wrong, as a result of premature confidence.
“I have no problem with that,” Klopp said after the game. “Everyone should celebrate the situation, apart from us. Nothing has changed; we have the same situation plus three points. I will tell you immediately the moment if it feels different; at the moment, it doesn’t.”
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There is no need to worry, though. It is still only January and Liverpool are 16 points clear of the pack, having played one match fewer than their rivals. If results go their way, Klopp’s side could be 22 ahead clear by Wednesday, when they play their game in hand against West Ham at the London Stadium.