The 34-year-old was the third favourite coming into evening – with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua the bookies’ tip – but finally won the award after a previous best finish of third in 2011.
On a night of surprises, Northern Ireland’s World Superbikes champion Jonathan Rea finished second and para-athlete Jonnie Peacock was third.
Farah, who claimed a third consecutive world 10,000 metres title in London in August, was among four of the 12 nominees not present in Liverpool, which suggested he did not fancy his 33-1 odds either.
His world title victory was achieved despite almost falling over twice in the final, which is almost how he achieved this win, too.
First, his son Hussein pulled his microphone off during his initial video-link interview with BBC presenter Gabby Logan.
His daughter Rhianna partially rescued the situation by removing Hussein, only for the Somalian-born star to be left sitting on his microphone for much of the interview.
And then, when his shock victory was announced, the link to his location in London went down.
In a subsequent interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “I didn’t see this coming, I thought I wasn’t going to win it.
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