Joanne Anderson will be waking up today as a history maker.

The 50-year-old mum has become the first ever black woman to be elected as leader of a major UK city.

It's a huge and important achievement and one that will go down in the history books.

A reluctant politician, Mayor Anderson will also be waking up knowing she now faces the challenge of a lifetime.

The popular Princes Park ward councillor was actually planning to step down from the council at these elections - but was convinced to stand for the top political job in the city following the scandal that recently enveloped her party.

Her near-namesake, Joe Anderson, was forced to leave the role and withdraw from this election following his arrest in December as part of a corruption investigation.

He denies wrongdoing, but any hopes he may have had of returning to the fold were ended by the devastating findings of Max Caller's investigation into his administration.

That report, summed up in brutal fashion in Parliament, spoke of deeply dysfunctional council departments with huge failures in key areas and led to the deeply unpalatable and virtually unheard of result of government commissioners arriving to run key parts of Liverpool.

This will be the first and largest priority for the new Mayor of Liverpool as she assumes her new role.

The council must now quickly form a strong improvement plan that shows government what changes will be made and what lessons learnt to avoid such a disaster occurring again.

A special full council meeting in two weeks time will bring this plan together - and provide a first major public test of the new Mayor Anderson.

Of course if the council can't get its act together and show how it is making improvements, the government has the option of giving the commissioners full control of the running of the authority.

Needless to say, that would render the city's new Mayor something of a lame duck - it is something she needs to avoid at all costs.

And she made no bones about the scale of the task and her desire to clean things up in her victory speech.

She said: "The first thing I want to do is apologise to the city of Liverpool on behalf of the party and administration for the findings of the Caller Report.

"It uncovered things that have deeply hurt us all."

She added that she is "wholeheartedly determined to put the city on a restorative path after a difficult year".

She promised to take full responsibility for driving improvements and rebuilding trust in the city and its council.

But of course the council situation isn't the only major challenge facing the new leader of Liverpool - she must also try to bring together a notoriously fractured Labour group.

New Mayor Joanne Anderson
New Mayor Joanne Anderson

The group remains deeply divided between different factions and the decisions made in the coming days in terms of cabinet roles and other key positions will be fascinating - and a major diplomatic challenge for Mayor Anderson.

These are the initial items in the in-tray of Liverpool's new political supremo - but the wider challenges of a covid recovery for a city beaten back so badly by the virus loom large.

But as Mayor Anderson has pointed out before, she is no stranger to a challenge and is always up for the fight.

She was criticised by some after revelations that she has twice been declared bankrupt, but she says her difficult moments in life and how she has overcome them show her metal - and give her the ability to understand the challenges many face.

That drive to overcome difficult times comes from her mum, she said.

She said: "I grew up in a flat in Netherley, the flats were built really badly, full of asbestos, my mother and another woman campaigned to get the flats buildings taken down."

She said growing up in 1980s Liverpool was 'pretty miserable' and says that while things have improved, the fight for equality remains one of her top priorities.

On racial equality, she says Liverpool talks a good game, but more action is needed, adding: "I think we have issues of visible representation. There are plenty of black people here doing great work.

"We're very mature when we talk about these issues in Liverpool, but we're not that good at taking action to address it."

The challenges ahead for Joanne Anderson are significant - this is a history maker with a big job on her hands.