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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Merseyside revels in Reds victory
Liverpool's players on victory parade
Liverpool's triumphant players have paraded the Champions League trophy to more than a million people.

Fresh from a shoot-out win over AC Milan, the team arrived at John Lennon Airport and boarded an open-top bus.

They were welcomed by 750,000 cheering fans, who created a sea of bright red along the streets of Liverpool.

And by the time the bus finally arrived at its destination in the city centre, there were an estimated 300,000 gathered around St George's Hall.

Liverpool's dramatic victory, a penalty shoot-out win over AC Milan after being three goals down, sparked joyous scenes both in Istanbul and back in Britain.

In fact, fans all over the world have been celebrating a famous win, with little trouble reported and few arrests.

It is the Anfield club's fifth European Cup triumph, a feat that means they get to keep the trophy.

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And the result marks a significant night for English football, with Liverpool becoming the first English side since Manchester United in 1999 to win the Champions League.

Professor Tom Cannon of Kingston Business School told the BBC the win could eventually earn Liverpool up to 45m.

"The financial implications are enormous. They've already earned 30m and in terms of additional sponsorship income it's probably worth at least 10m-15m," he said.

However, Liverpool's participation in next season's competition is still in doubt as the holders do not automatically qualify.

The Reds missed out on a place through their league position after finishing fifth in the Premiership and Uefa has said it will not change the rules to benefit Rafael Benitez's side.

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"We cannot change the rules in the middle of the season, we cannot take another team out of the competition for Liverpool," Uefa spokesman William Gaillard told BBC Radio Five Live.

"We can discuss the changes for the future but not for next season. It is the Football Association who must decide between Liverpool and fourth placed Everton and they have chosen Everton."

The FA's chief executive Brian Barwick said he would continue to lobby Uefa to try and get Liverpool a special exemption.

"We'll be keeping up a dialogue with Uefa which we have been for the last couple of months," said Barwick.

"We spotted this potential scenario a fair while ago and so have been in touch with them both verbally and in written form and we'll continue to talk."

Queen's message

The Queen congratulated Liverpool on their win having learned of it after flying back from Canada on Thursday.

"Congratulations on your remarkable win last night," said the Queen.

"It was a magnificent achievement which will be remembered for many years both in Liverpool and across the country."

Prime Minister Tony Blair was telephoned by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pass on his congratulations, and himself sent a message to the victorious Liverpool team and manager Rafael Benitez.

In the message, Mr Blair said: "Unbelievable. Incredible. Brilliant. The whole country is very proud of you."

He later added: "Wasn't it absolutely amazing? Anyway, Liverpool can be very proud of itself and Britain's very proud of Liverpool."

The Prime Minister's wife Cherie said: "I am absolutely delighted of course as a Liverpool girl. It is a fantastic news for the whole city and the whole country."

Conservative leader and Liverpool supporter Michael Howard also paid tribute to the Reds for their remarkable fightback.

"Three-nil down at half-time I thought oh dear, all the dreams are going to dissolve, but what a second half, they were unbelievable," said Howard.

Delighted captain Steven Gerrard, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea, suggested after the match that the win might persuade him to stay at the club.

"How can I think of leaving Liverpool after a night like this?" he said.

"The supporters have saved up for weeks and months to come here. I am so happy to lift the cup for the fans."

Bookmakers Ladbrokes is counting its losses after more than 100 people backed Liverpool to win at half-time at 100/1 - one punter putting 50 on.

"Over 10m was riding on the match, it was one of the biggest betting games ever," said spokesman Warren Lush.

"We estimate the industry has lost over 2m. We're just thanking our lucky stars that it was a draw after 90 minutes otherwise our losses would have been at least double that."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Sport's Adam Parsons on the Liverpool victory parade


Liverpool parade makes its way past Anfield


Watch the Reds arrive back in the UK



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