The Long Road To Glory: Liverpool FC
Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s there was one ultimate dominating force in English football: Liverpool Football Club. During this time, other challenging teams would come and go but Liverpool were always a constant factor, winning multiple trophies both domestically and in Europe. Throughout these glory days, Liverpool were led by four legendary managers, Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalgish, all bringing outstanding success to the club and segmenting their names as legends around the Red half of Merseyside.
April 28th 1990, a monumental and significant date in history of Liverpool Football Club, as the Reds beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Anfield to secure a record 18th English Top Division Championship. After overcoming a close title race with Aston Villa, English Football bore witness to the familar sight of Liverpool glory. The Reds were the greatest and most decorated English Football Club of all time, however, no one could have envisioned that this would be their last league success for 30 years.
The following season (1990-91), Liverpool just missed out on the title to George Graham managed Arsenal. The Gunners won their second league title in three seasons, as they once again clinched the title over a second place Liverpool, this time in slightly less dramatic fashion then the incredible scenes of 89, something Michael Thomas, who had since moved to Liverpool would surely agree on. 1991-92 brought success of the FA Cup but Liverpool found themselves way off of a title challenge, finishing 6th place as Leeds United were crowned champions.
1992-93 welcomed a new era of English Football as it was the start of the very first Premier League. Liverpool were desperate to overcome a miserable previous league campaign by becoming winners of the inaugural Premier League title. Unfortunately they once again finished 6th, way off of pace of eventual winners Manchester United, managed by Alex Ferguson, something that was to become a trend over the next two decades.
Liverpool never made a credibile title push throughout the 90s, however, moving into the 00s the tide looked as though it was starting to change as Liverpool found a new hero and new leader, scouser and die hard Liverpool fan, Steven Gerrard. Gerrard was without doubt the man at Liverpool, dragging the Reds to Champions League and FA Cup glory. Although this success was amazing, there was still a certain glory that Gerrard and Liverpool were chasing, the Premier League title.
2007 saw the arrival of another world class talent, as Liverpool signed Fernando Torres from Althetico Madrd. The arrival of El Niño showed that Liverpool meant business, along with a team of top class talent, including Xavi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt, as well as the management masterclass from gaffer Rafael Benetez, Liverpool were primed and ready for a serious title challenge. 2008-09 season was a strong one for the Reds, with the Gerrard and Torres partnership looking simply unstoppable at times, netting 30 league goals between them and providing some terrific link up play. Liverpool also did the double over rivals Manchester United, including that famous 4-1 victory at Old Trafford. Even with these great moments, Manchester United would go on to win the title by four points which was their 18th English League triumph, equaling Liverpool‘s record. Manchester United would go on to win a further two league titles in the coming years, meaning they’d won an incredible 13 titles since Liverpool’s last.
After this agonisingly close title race, things started to crumble for Liverpool with multiple disappointing league finishes, mainly down to the loss of key players, as Alonso moved to Real Madrid, Mascherano moved to Barcelona and Fernando Torres even left for league rivals Chelsea. Despite losing Torres in the 2011 winter transfer window, things were starting to look up at Anfield when Liverpool acquired their next great hope. No i'm not talking about Andy Carroll, I'm of course reffering to Uruguayan superstar, Luis Suarez.
Skip a few years to the 2013-14 season, S.A.S (Suarez and Sturridge) are on fire and Liverpool are leading the league moving into the last few months of the season. This didn't originally look to be a title-challenging season for Liverpool, however, with a mixture of youth and experience Liverpool looked to be on the verge of glory, which was evident after beating Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield on 13th April, meaning the Reds were in poll position moving into the last 4 games. It all looked as though the years of frustration striving towards the holy grail were finally over. That was until that horrible day at Anfield hosting José Mourinho’s Chelsea. With half time moments away Mamadou Sakho passes the ball to Steven Gerrard just inside the Liverpool half, then in a split second it happens, Gerrard loses his footing and slips, allowing Demba Ba to pick up the ball one on one with goal and score. Liverpool would go on to lose the match 2-0. Later that day Manchester City would defeat Crystal Palace 2-0 to go top of the table, meaning the title was now out of Liverpools hands. Any hope of resurrecting their league dream were dealt a huge blow at Selhurst Park as Liverpool squandered a 3-0 lead to eventually draw 3-3 in very dramatic late fashion. Liverpool needed a miraculous last day of the season to win this title. However, it wasn’t to be a famous last day of the season moment like Thomas in 1989 or Augero in 2012, it was just another agonising season for the Reds, in particuarly club hero Steven Gerrard.
Yet again following a strong title push disappointment followed for Liverpool. Suarez left for Barcelona, Gerrard retired and there was desperate need of a change at the club with consecutive low league finishes. Following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool hired former Borussia Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp. Klopp would begin an epic rebuild at Liverpool, bring an exciting new style of football, consisting of a heavy pressing game and quick counter attacks. Each season Klopp acquired new exciting talents, such as Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Gini Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson, as well as utilising great players already with the club like Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and academy prospect Trent Alexander-Arnold. Although things were quickly improving, unneeded mistakes were still holding the Reds back from trophy contention, due to some questionable defending and goalkeeping. This all changed with the sale of one of the clubs best players, Philippe Coutinho, moving to Barcelona for around £144 million, allowing Liverpool to acquire Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker. These two world class individuals were the missing pieces of the puzzle to take Liverpool from a domestic challengers, to world juggernauts.
The 2017/18 season saw Manchester City become Premier League Centurions under Pep Guardiola, in one of the most dominating Premier League campaigns of all time. It was clear at the start of the 2018/19 season that Liverpool would simply have to be outstanding to triumph over City. Outstanding was exactly what Liverpool were, with countless dominating performances, only losing one game all season, finishing on 97 points and achieving the third-highest all-time Premier League points tally. Any other season this display would’ve won the title was ease, however, in this particular season it wasn't good enough. Guardiola's men tipped Liverpool to the title by 1 point with the race once again going down to the last day of the season. Once again Liverpool came agonisingly close but were still left chasing the glory of the Premier League. This season marked only the third time a team had been leading the league at Christmas and not become champions. All three previous times this occurred were Liverpool in the aforementioned seasons. On the other hand, let’s talk about six baby. Liverpool delivered a memorable Champions League campaign, which included one of Anfield's greatest nights against a Messi-led Barcelona in the Semi-Finals, as the Reds fought back from being 3-0 down on aggregate to win 4-3 and reach the final in Madrid. There they encountered fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, who had an epic semi-final comeback of their own against Ajax. Liverpool wouldn’t be denied on this night, as the Mighty Reds left the Spanish capital with Old Big Ears, beating Spurs 2-0 and winning the competition for the sixth time.
Success in Europe gave this incredible team the boost they needed going into the 2019-20 campaign, desperate to undo the trauma of last season’s Premier League climax and finally end 30 years of pain. Liverpool wasted no time taking a demanding league lead, winning 8-out-of-8 before a draw at Old Trafford. After that draw Liverpool won 19 in a row before finally being defeated by Watford. Liverpool had already achieved Super Cup and World Club Cup glory this season and with a 25 points gap over second place Manchester City, it wasn’t a question of if they’d become champions, it was a question of when. Nothing could stop Liverpool this time, well nothing apart from a worldwide pandemic of course!! The COVID-19 virus crippled the country and brought an immediate stop to all football in England. It was starting to become apparent that the season may not be concluded due to health concerns. There were calls for the season to be null and voided, meaning everything Liverpool had achieved in the season would’ve been for nothing. Liverpool fans worldwide were in disbelief that this would happen now. Thankfully for the Country the pandemic started to settle down and plans for 'Project Restart' were put into place. It was announced that on 17th June the Premier League season would resume and Liverpool will finally get their moment to capture the title. The stadiums were empty but the passion and love for football was still alive among the fans at home and the players. Liverpool started the restart off with a tentative 0-0 draw in the Merseyside Derby, before a simply exceptional performance against Crystal Palace, winning 4-0 at Anfield. This meant if Manchester City couldn’t beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the title was Liverpool’s.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City!
The title was over!
2019/20 Premier League Champions: Liverpool Football Club!
Liverpool had finally completed their long journey to glory for the trophy that had always eluded them. The agonising times were finally over. It was mission accomplished. The parties started outside of Anfield and across the City. All the players and staff watched the crowning moment together in scenes of pure joy and celebration. Liverpool had won the league in style, setting Premier League history by winning the title with most games to spare and still with plenty of opportunity to set more records as the season concludes. Jürgen Klopp and his players have segmented their iconic legacies and immortalised themselves within Liverpool Football Club.