Thousands of fans lined the streets of the city as two-time cup winners Liverpool headed home for an open-top bus parade on Sunday that unfolded amid a flood of mixed emotions.
Winning both the League Cup and the FA Cup in a single season, as Liverpool did by beating Chelsea twice on penalties in two Wembley finals, would be cause enough for most people to celebrate. clubs.
But the two trophies they really wanted, and which would have allowed them to win an unprecedented quadruple in a single campaign, narrowly escaped Liverpool.
Manchester City propelled them to the Premier League by a single point last week before Liverpool lost 1-0 to Spanish giants Real Madrid in the European Champions League final in Paris on Saturday.
But that result itself was overshadowed by chaotic scenes that delayed kick-off at the Stade de France by more than half an hour, with thousands of ticket holders struggling to enter the stadium as the French police were reacting to a escalating situation by using tear gas on the fans. .
As the bus carrying players and officials displaying the two trophies Liverpool won this season under German coach Jurgen Klopp drove through the city against a backdrop of flares and flags, Reds supporter Richard Dickinson told AFP: “There are several high profile media people who have come out and talked about how badly the fans were treated there (Paris) and suggested that it was not the fault of the fans of Liverpool, what you know, I can’t believe for a minute that would be the case.
“It’s a shame this has actually ruined the sporting spectacle for so many people, and what I’ve read is quite disturbing.”
– ‘Great year’ –
As for Liverpool’s season on the pitch, he added: “I think the team had a great year, you know, unfortunately not winning all four trophies, but we won two, which is fantastic. Narrowly missing out on the league and then obviously missing out last night was unlucky but you can’t fault the effort the boys put in!”
Another Liverpool fan, Ashany Rehal, has expressed pride in the team as she pleads for Senegalese Sadio Mane, linked with a move to German giants Bayern Munich, and Egyptian Mohamed Salah to stay with Liverpool as both stars could be leaving Anfield. .
“I’m really happy Liverpool won both cups and I’m really proud of them,” she told AFP. “They have to continue their good work. I also think Mane shouldn’t leave because he’s a very good player.
“My favorite player is Mohamed Salah. I told him ‘you are really great and you are the best and please don’t go'”.
Earlier, Liverpool had insisted their supporters had done nothing to justify the treatment they had received outside the Stade de France, while French government figures criticized the behavior of England fans and that European football’s governing body, UEFA, attributed a problem with counterfeit tickets.
Although no one was seriously injured, the chilling scenes outside France’s national stadium have drawn comparisons to the Hillsborough ground disaster in 1989 during a Liverpool game at Sheffield, which left 97 dead in a crash and led to a major overhaul of stadium safety standards.
Sunday was also the anniversary of another stadium disaster, when 39 people were killed at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels in 1985 as Juventus fans tried to flee Liverpool supporters.