Paul Kilfoil's World of Travel, Technology & Sport

Posted on  by Paul Kilfoil.
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Liverpool Football Club, known as "Liverpool" (or simply "The Reds") to its legion of fans worldwide, has a long and proud history in the annals of football in England. The club dominated British and European football in the 1970's and 1980's, and during that period won four European Champions League titles (and a fifth in 2005), the UEFA Cup twice (and a third in 2001) and took the Premier League in England no less than 11 times in 18 years. Until 2008 Liverpool held the record for having won the most Premier League titles since the start of the English Football League in 1888.

Kevin Keegan ...
A Liverpool legend from the 1970's

But after 1990 the club went into a state of relative decline. The great players like Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Graeme Souness who fuelled their domination of European football had retired or moved on, and the new crop of players were unable to compete with their resurgent rivals - Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. Apart from a single (and wholly unexpected) European Champions League victory in 2005, the trophy cabinet at Anfield has been bare of major titles since they last won the Premier League in 1990. Manchester United, under the astute leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, took over the mantle as the major force in English football, winning the Premier league umpteen times after 1990 and overtaking Liverpool as holders of the most Premier League titles (they currently have 20 titles to Liverpool's 18). Liverpool's board of directors responded by hiring and firing managers in a dizzy, but unsuccessful, effort to find the magic formula which would take them back to the top.

Then in 2013 things started to change. Brendan Rodgers took over as manager at Liverpool in June 2012, just before the start of the 2012/2013 season. There were no fireworks during Rodgers' first year in charge and the club finished the season in mid-table (as they have been accustomed to doing for several years). But 2013/2014 saw a new and different Liverpool, and after a series of convincing results the team topped the Premier League standings for several weeks before dropping slightly off the pace in mid-season. They returned to the top of the table in April 2014 after an incredible run of ten consecutive premier league victories, the last of these being a dramatic 3-2 win over fellow Championship hopefuls Manchester City ; suddenly Liverpool looked like real title contenders for the first time in decades.

Steven Gerrard with the European Champions trophy in 2005

With only four matches remaining in the league, will Liverpool be able to withstand the pressure from their rivals? Manchester City and Chelsea, both winners of the league in recent years, are close behind and could still leapfrog Liverpool to the title if the Reds slip up. For the faithful fans at Anfield, who have endured a torrid 24 years since Liverpool's last league title, the next few weeks will be more tense than anything they've experienced since the magical second half of their European Champions league win in 2005 (when Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and win the match on penalties). Time will tell ...

[Update 1] Liverpool extended their run of consecutive victories to 11 matches before two disastrous results effectively ended their challenge for the 2014 English Premier League title - a 2-0 loss to Chelsea and a 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace (after having been 3-0 up). So Liverpool had to be content with second place behind Manchester City, and their patient fans will have to wait at least another year for the trophy drought to end ...

[Update 2] In the 2018/2019 season, Liverpool ran eventual Premier League winners Manchester City very close again and finished the season with a staggering 97 points - more than enough points to have won the title handsomely in most of the previous ten seasons! But City were marginally superior and with 98 points secured the title by a single point.

[Update 3] The disappointment of not winning the Premier League in 2019 was forgotten when Liverpool again won the the biggest title of all in June 2019 - the European Champions League. Their sixth victory in this competition confirmed Liverpool as the most successful British club of all time.

[Update 4] Liverpool FINALLY won the Premier League title again in 2020 (for the 19'th time), after an agonizing wait towards the end of the season when all matches were suspended due to the Corona Virus pandemic. Liverpool's previous win was in 1990, so there was a gap of no less than 30 years between their 18'th and 19'th titles.

  © Paul Kilfoil, Cape Town, South Africa