LONDON -- It started quietly at first. A few rogue voices piped up from the crowd, flamboyantly tempting fate, voicing theoretical hubris. Then it got a bit louder, as if more Liverpool fans allowed themselves to vocalise what the rest of us have known has been inevitable for a while now.
At first it was a variation, sticking with the purely factual "Now you'd better believe us, we're champions of the world." Then as the game went on, they indulged themselves. "We're gonna win the league," they sang.
After 30 years, you can understand why Liverpool fans might want to be be cautious, and excessively so. Because we all know they have no need to be. They are gonna win the league, and Wednesday night's 2-0 win over West Ham, a result as routine as brushing your teeth or putting the bins out, was one of 15 staging posts left in the season, another piece of admin completed as they impatiently wait for Jordan Henderson to be mathematically allowed to do his trophy stutter and raise the cup up high at Anfield.
Let's be honest: there's no tension left in this season. No peril. If this Premier League season was an hour-long murder mystery TV show, Liverpool have basically told us who did it about halfway through, stripping any sort of suspense from the ending. Whether it's ultimately healthy for the league for one team to be this dominant is up for debate, and probably more a question for next season, anyway. If they do this again in a year, maybe then we should start to worry.
It's gotten to the point that you feel a bit sorry for anyone playing against Liverpool this season. There was a moment in the first half when Mark Noble collected the ball around 10 yards outside his own box but, without exaggeration, there were four players on top of him before he had chance to look up. "Whatever you try to stop, they've got other ways of getting around you," David Moyes said after the game.
For now though, the only questions remaining are by how many points Liverpool will win it, and how they're going to keep themselves occupied between now and whenever it is signed and sealed. Their lead -- now 19 points, with 14 games remaining -- is big enough to protect them against complacency, basically buying themselves enough time to completely bottle it, then recover and win the title anyway. But it's a neat encapsulation of their superiority -- both in this game specifically, but over the season more generally -- that Jurgen Klopp's biggest concern essentially boiled down to Liverpool being so good and so dominant that they could become bored and lose concentration during the game.
"The difficulty tonight was to get and keep rhythm and to stay concentrated," Klopp said, before listing a few chances that Liverpool donated to West Ham with careless passes or silly mistakes.
"These boys ... I would give them my kids to take care of, I trust them 100%, but they still occasionally make these ridiculous mistakes. It's staying concentrated when you're constantly in charge: that's so difficult. If you have a flow where you create chance after chance after chance, it's a different game, but we didn't. So we had to face that challenge and we did it, in the end."
At times, it almost felt like Liverpool were trying to keep that concentration by making things more difficult for themselves: take Mohamed Salah's pass for the second goal, an utterly sumptuous ball with the outside of his left foot, curled around and behind the West Ham defence to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who didn't have to break stride before he finished. It was extraordinary to even attempt, and it sums up the confidence in the side that he did so when something much easier would have been acceptable.
There were others, too: at one stage Roberto Firmino cut along the byline from the right, moved back into the area and took a shot when there were simpler passes on, seemingly just because he fancied it. Even that weird moment when Trent Alexander-Arnold volleyed against his own post: for half a second, you wondered if he did it on purpose just to introduce some element of tension.
This might be where the interest for us watching, and the focus for the Liverpool players, can be found over the next few months, that they just try more and more outrageous things. The remainder of this season could be one long YouTube clip, a skills compilation stretched over 14 games (although hopefully without some sort of inexplicable Europop or metal soundtrack) as the Liverpool players compete with each other to see who can do the coolest thing next. And why not? The rest of the Premier League haven't provided them with much competition, so they might as well look for it internally.
"It was not a brilliant performance ..." said Klopp. "I wish we would've done better, but I will take it like it is. If it was easy to win this number of games and have this number of points, other teams would've done it."
At full-time, Klopp walked over to the Liverpool fans and pumped his fist three times, like he used to do after most games before the TV cameras started to shove their lenses under his nose, egging him on to perform like some sort of baseball-capped dancing fool. But he can do it safely after every game now. As he walked off, those chants continued. They got just a little louder, too.