Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he had “goosebumps” as fans returned to Anfield on Sunday, roaring the Premier League champions on to a comprehensive 4-0 win against Wolves.
The Reds have not had the chance to play in front of their supporters since they ended their 30-year wait to be crowned English champions in June.
But they made up for lost time, swaggering to a comfortable win as the 2,000 fans permitted to attend due to coronavirus restrictions sang the club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Wolves showed glimpses of a threat early on but the result was rarely in doubt once Mohamed Salah had given the home side the lead midway through the first half.
Second-half goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and a late own goal from Nelson Semedo underlined Liverpool’s superiority as they joined leaders Tottenham on 24 points.
“The game, the atmosphere, it was so nice I had goosebumps,” an emotional Klopp told the BBC. “They started ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – really nice. I never knew it could feel that good.
“This started in February and we were waiting to get normality back. Normality is good – I don’t think we appreciated it as much. It was very, very touching.”
Salah breaks deadlock
The lively Sadio Mane had a chance to put Liverpool in front in the 12th minute from an Andy Robertson cross from the left but the Senegal forward could not keep his header on target.
Both teams looked sharp on the break and stand-in Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was forced to scramble to his right to keep out a cute chipped effort from Daniel Podence.
But the home fans had something to cheer in the 24th minute.
There did not appear to be much danger when Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson sent a long ball over the top into the Wolves penalty area.
But Wolves captain Conor Coady, who used to be on Liverpool’s books, got his calculations wrong. The ball came off his chest and Salah nipped in to fire home left-footed.
Wolves were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half after Mane was adjudged to have fouled Coady. But VAR ruled out the spot-kick after the TV replay showed there had been no contact.
Wolves searched for a way back into the match in the early stages of the second half and Coady found himself in a threatening position in the Liverpool box before Fabinho whipped the ball away.
Seconds later, Liverpool were charging forward again on the counter-attack, towards the Kop.
Henderson played a long ball which Wijnaldum collected before producing a measured, curled finish into the top left-hand corner of Rui Patricio’s net.
Liverpool put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute when Salah’s inswinging cross was met by Matip, who headed in from close range. By now the home side were in total control.
Liverpool’s fourth goal came when substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold, returning from injury, produced a delicious cross from the right which was turned in by Nelson Semedo for an own goal.