On Friday, Liverpool fans continued to disregard coronavirus safety protocols by forming large groups to celebrate their first Premier League title in 30 years. The police was forced to take action to disperse the crowds, after showing leniency on Thursday.
When Manchester City lost to Chelsea 2-0 on Thursday evening, Liverpool finally confirmed their 2019-20 Premier League title. Fans flocked to Anfield, where they celebrated together despite safety protocols banning mass gatherings. Merseyside police generally allowed the fans to peacefully celebrate in the hours following the title confirmation.
However, the following evening, fans became even bolder and continued to gather in droves. On Friday, they were seen gathering at the Pier Head area, which has prompted the police to issue a dispersal order.
Local government officials and the police are concerned about the danger that revellers are putting themselves in, and are urging fans to stay home. "We know a lot of Liverpool fans want to celebrate their Premier League win, but there is a time and a place for this - and this weekend is neither. Tonight we have seen masses of people flock to the Pier Head area heightening the risk of spreading Covid-19," read a statement.
While the celebrations were generally peaceful, some local residents are increasingly becoming concerned. Fireworks and flares are being lit and copious amounts of alcohol are being consumed. It is a volatile situation which could take a turn for the worse at any moment. While most of the fans are wearing masks, social distancing is becoming a challenge due to the large number of people coming out.
The mayor urged the citizens to return home and celebrate privately. In a tweet, he said "Clearly too many people intoxicated and causing anti-social behaviour. I urge you leave the city centre now it is not safe."
Liverpool FC, the Liverpool City Council and Merseyside police issued a joint statement condemning the gatherings:
Apart from endangering themselves and the others around them, the revellers also left an enormous amount of rubbish at Pier Head. The city council and a handful of volunteers had to clean up after them on Saturday morning.
The dispersal order is in effect until Sunday, in the hopes that the urge to celebrate together will pass after this weekend.