This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
AUTHOR: OLIVER HOLT
When the final whistle had blown and the Liverpool players had trudged down the tunnel, the stadium announcer confirmed what most already knew.
"The news from down the road," he said, "is that Manchester City won 2-0 and are champions."
Ah, the news from down the road. There has been plenty of that over the last 25 years and not much of it has been good.
First of all, it was Manchester United who usurped Liverpool. Now, sitting at the other end of the East Lancs Road, it was Manchester City who woke the Reds from their dream on Sunday afternoon.
So of course there was melancholy at Anfield as Liverpool's wonderfully improbable tilt at the title ended in failure, despite victory over Newcastle.
And, yes, there was a feeling of anticlimax and a gnawing sense of what might have been.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard looked desolate as the team re-emerged for a muted lap of appreciation.
But rising above the disappointment, there was pride and there was hope that this can be the start of something, not the end. Few expected Liverpool to be in the top four this season, let alone contending for the title on the final day.
Instead, they played their part in one of the most captivating Premier League seasons there has ever been.
And the way they played, the spirit they carried with them and the promise they showed suggested even brighter things ahead.It felt as though this was the season when one of England's great footballing institutions was reborn.
Liverpool are not also-rans scrapping for cast-offs from the rich man's table any more. They are back in the Champions League, back among the elite. Their name, their reputation, has been restored.
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, who has led the revitalisation of the team, hammered home that message in the game's aftermath.
When he was asked whether he was confident his side could take the final step next season and end the club's 25-year wait for the title, he nodded.
Then he told a story about a letter he had received before the start of the season from a Liverpool fan called Ben.
The letter had urged Rodgers and his players to aim higher than finishing fourth and to dream about winning the title.
"I read it out to the players before we played our first game," he said, "and I think some of them maybe thought it was a bit far-fetched.
"I read it out to them again before the game today and there is a difference now. They believe that we can be up there challenging, too."
There are some who fear that Liverpool's presence in the Champions League next season will make it harder for them to go for the title again.
There are some who say this was their best shot because City, Chelsea and United should all be stronger next season.
But the truth is that Liverpool should be stronger next season, too.
Think of the way that the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge have emerged as some of the best players in the league this season.
Think of some of the breathtaking goals Luis Suarez has provided.
Think, too, of the pulling power that their feats this season should give them in the transfer market.
There is talk that Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana will be among the Anfield side's first recruits. What a fine start to team-strengthening he would represent.
"It has been a wonderful campaign," Rodgers added. "To witness the power of this club, the power of the institution that is Liverpool, has been inspiring.
"We made them dream again this season. We just fell short but we will be back."
Rodgers was right about all that. As the season progressed and Liverpool's momentum grew and grew, it was impossible to ignore.
Something has been unlocked at Anfield this season - a great force in English football has been reawakened. Liverpool are back in the mix.