They walked out to another guard of honor, with a huge rectangular banner high up in the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand reading: “Liverpool FC – Champions Again”.
Liverpool’s players were back home at Anfield for the first time since winning a first English league title since 1990.
It was a triumphant return, too.
Lacking the intensity and precision that brought the team the title in devastating fashion, Liverpool still managed to eke out a 2-0 win over Aston Villa to move in sight of a slew of records to cap one of the best ever top-flight campaigns.
Second-half goals by Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones secured a 17th straight win at Anfield, with just two more needed — against Burnley and Chelsea — to complete a 100% home record that would be unprecedented in the Premier League. Four wins from the last five matches and Liverpool will also pass Manchester City’s record from 2017-18 of 100 points in one season.
Not that Jürgen Klopp is necessarily counting.
“The only thing I can say,” the Liverpool manager said, “is there’s no chance to win records if you constantly think about records.
“We don’t want records. We want the three points.”