After the obligatory round of bear hugs was complete, a beaming Jurgen Klopp walked towards the tunnel patting the Liver Bird on his chest.
This was a booming statement of intent from his Liverpool side.
In the cold light of day the Reds have only delivered a bloody nose to the champions-elect while enhancing their own top-four credentials.
But this thrilling victory over Manchester City was about so much more than that.
This was about proving they can not only cope but flourish following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. That the club's resurgence hasn't been unnecessarily jeopardised.
This was about putting down a marker for next season – issuing a warning to Pep Guardiola that Liverpool are a genuine force to be reckoned with and City won't be granted another procession to the title.
There was also the small matter of exacting revenge for that embarrassing hiding at the Etihad back in September by wrecking City's dream of going the entire campaign unbeaten.
All those boxes were ticked emphatically on an afternoon which will live long in the memory.
The atmosphere crackled throughout as Anfield showed its appreciation for a courageous display from the Reds.
Here was the Klopp blueprint in all its glory. There was energy, hunger and desire in abundance – relentless gegenpressing coupled with a fearless commitment to attack the best team in the country.
A gifted individual may have jumped ship but this is still an immensely talented team.
Selling Coutinho was a gamble with so much to play for but Klopp has always been about the collective and he feared the consequences of keeping the Brazilian against his will for a second successive window.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had spoken in the build up to the game about taking on extra responsibility and he backed up those words impressively.
The £35million midfielder delivered the kind of classy performance Coutinho would have been proud of himself. Having slammed home the opener early on, Oxlade-Chamberlain created the Reds' second for Roberto Firmino and was a thorn in City's side throughout.
Leroy Sane had restored parity before Liverpool blew City away with a stunning burst of three goals in the space of nine minutes early in the second half.
The 'Fab Four' maybe no more but the three that remain are still playing sweet music. Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah each delivered their own party piece to put the hosts 4-1 up.
From a position of total control, Liverpool got a bout of the jitters and were left hanging on after late goals from substitute Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan set up a grandstand finish.
It shouldn't have come to that but, crucially, the Reds held on to climb above Chelsea into third place and move level on points with Manchester United.
The scoreline flattered City, Liverpool were good value for their win as they extended their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions - the club's longest sequence for a decade.
The hosts flew out of the traps and imposed themselves on the contest from the start.
City's high defensive line meant there was plenty of space for the Reds to exploit in behind through the blistering pace of Salah and Mane.
The breakthrough arrived inside nine minutes. When Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up possession 40 yards out, there was only one thing on his mind.
Direct and aggressive, he drove past Fernandinho and unleashed an unstoppable 20-yarder past Ederson.
Anfield erupted and Klopp's men fed off that energy from the stands as they continued to boss proceedings.
A roar greeted the sight of Emre Can sliding in to dispossess Raheem Sterling, who endured another torrid return to Anfield.
The outstanding Andy Robertson ensured that Sterling, whose every touch was booed, remained expertly shackled throughout. Sterling was later taken off before he was sent off - 50,000 jeers ringing in his ears.
Liverpool's midfield trio of Can, Gini Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain were dominant. The balance was perfect. Waiting until the summer for Naby Keita might not be too much of a hardship.
The Reds should have added to their account before the interval. Salah couldn't sort his feet out and poked wide after getting away from Nicolas Otamendi, while Firmino failed to hit the target from Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross.
Belatedly, City settled and got to grips with the Reds' intensity levels.
Kevin de Bruyne's influence grew and his quality delivery just evaded Sergio Aguero. Sane's strike deflected behind off Dejan Lovren as Liverpool had to dig deep under pressure.
Four minutes before the break a backline denied the presence of Virgil van Dijk due to a tight hamstring was breached in alarming fashion.
Joe Gomez misjudged Kyle Walker's cross-field pass and Sane got away from Joel Matip inside the box before arrowing the ball past Loris Karius.
It was poor from Karius, who was beaten far too easily at his near post. Dropping Simon Mignolet was a big call and Karius failed to justify the faith shown in him.
Klopp suggested that the German would now be given a run in the side but if he's going to be the club's No 1 he needs to sharpen up. The smart money suggests that Liverpool will buy a keeper this summer.
There was a let-off early in the second half when Otamendi's header struck the bar but Liverpool soon clicked into gear in devastating fashion.
Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain both went close before the Reds' regained the lead just before the hour mark.
Firmino still had plenty to do when he latched on to Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass but he out-muscled John Stones and coolly dinked it over Ederson for his 17th goal of the season.
Liverpool were rampant, City were rattled. Mane's curler hit the post but the Senegal winger made no mistake after being teed up by Salah, whose pressing had robbed the ball off Otamendi.
Mane steadied himself and unleashed a thunderous left-footer into the top corner from the edge of the box. He's still not at his blistering best but here was another major contribution.
When Salah latched on to Ederson's poor clearance and lofted it into the empty neat from 40 yards for his 24th goal of the campaign, Kopites were in dreamland.
Liverpool's unfettered ambition was epitomised by the sight of Robertson tearing after Stones, Ederson and then Otamendi like a dog chasing a bone.
The Scottish left-back's name was chanted by the Kop – reward for another fine display.
Settle for 4-1? Shut up shop? No chance. Liverpool wanted more and that played into City's hands as they launched a late fightback.
Silva tucked home from close range before Gundogan converted Ageruo's cross in stoppage time.
The nerves were jangling but Liverpool had done enough. Philippe who?
Man of the match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Scored the first and created the second. Epitomised Liverpool's show of courage.
Source: Liverpool Echo
This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.