A Liverpool Legacy Dies at the Hands of United

It was officially announced and celebrated at Old Trafford on Friday, that Manchester United has won this year’s Premiere League Title. They have now tied Liverpool’s all-time record of 18 league titles in their history. BBC has continually updated on insider information regarding parades and such that will occur in the wake of their recent victory. But as LFC fans, we are left waiting for the dust to settle on a season which now ends with zero trophies. What was once one of the most promising seasons in recent history for the club turned to a mere disaster as a string of ties and losses prevented the Pool from bringing home a single trophy from the number of tourneys they competed in. It seemed that the title at one point was destined to come home to Anfield for the 19th time, but after a long season of speculation, and disappointment they come away with nothing.

LFC 2008 / 2009

LFC 2008 / 2009

The season began with high hopes after signing Northern Ireland striker Robbie Keane from Tottenham. The return of the previously signed Fernando Torres also promised for some thrills through the year. Early on, captain Steven Gerrard led his team to a number of strong-handed victories including a win over Man U at home, and Chelsea on the road as well. It seemed Liverpool were destined to take home the crown once more, but as the season progressed, the injuries which could so easily plague the teams success began to run a violent course through the most vital roles in the line-up.

Fernando Torres suffered a hamstring injury which left him out of action for a great deal of the season on and off, only allowing him to start in a handful of games all season. At one point, Gerrard and Torres were both out leaving only Robbie Keane and Ryan Babel in charge of bringing in goals, but unfortunately for the Merseyside club, they failed to do so, and therefore ended many matches in a draw and losing crucial points along the way.

After Liverpool’s long reign at the top of the league ended not too long after the start of the second half of the season, they struggled to stay in the top two spots while competing with Chelsea and Man U for the top 3 in the league. All the while Liverpool was winning matches in the Champions League, and also the F.A. Cup. Having been knocked out of the Carling Cup early on, Liverpool focused on their three main goals for the season. Everton eventually knocked them out of the F.A. Cup and Chelsea had their vengeance by knocking the Pool out of the Champions League in the Quarter Finals.

Steven Gerrard Strikes Again

Steven Gerrard Strikes Again

After losing being knocked out of two of the biggest tournaments in the world, Liverpool were left with only the hope of bringing home another League title, which would be their first in 19 years. By this point in the season (March / April), Man U was in the lead for the league by only 3 points, and Liverpool looked to have a chance, but after a tragic loss to Middlesborough, LFC was down a brutal 6 points against the best team to come out of the last two decades. Gerrard was then injured in late April to stack the odds even higher, but somehow LFC kept winning.

Arsenal was the key test this season for Liverpool, the match was to make or break the season, and unfortunately for all LFC fans, it broke them. The game was called an instant classic, the 4-4 final showed great heart for the boys of the Pool, but left them two points further away from the top spot, giving Man U the edge they needed to stay there. Inevitably, Liverpool had many chances to take home the League Title, but under pressure and costly injuries, they fell short of that high mark they have reached 18 times in their history.

In Steven Gerrard’s book, he states that Liverpool is not a club of big names, but rather a team which plays well in tough circumstances. This certainly proved true as a young team of good players continually played great. Their counterparts, Manchester United have every advantage a team could desire, and they benefit from them immensely. In an interview a few months back, a BBC reporter asked Rafa Benitez (LFC’s Manager), what the difference between his club and Sir Alex Ferguson’s club (Man U). Rafa replied, “100 Million Euros.”

This Statement in many ways sums up the reasoning behind Man U’s dominance in the last 20 years, and Liverpool’s almost tragic disappointment. Liverpool is a modest town born with a blue collar, which produces great footballers, but not the millions that it takes to bring in the world’s best talent, as Sir Alex always seems to have a knack for. The homegrown heroes which once dominated Europe for Liverpool are now overshadowed by the young talents of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Argentina. This trend has hurt the teams who don’t have the finances to bring in the youngster’s with such big bank accounts.

LFC Celebration

LFC Celebration

In the future it will be interesting to see how the economic aspect of football effects the success of clubs like Liverpool, who have such a bright winning tradition. Win or lose, trophies or merely pride, we are left once more with a song in our hearts, so remember… You’ll Never Walk Alone.

You'll Never Walk Alone

You'll Never Walk Alone

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Hometown Hero

Saturday showed Liverpool absolutely trounce West Ham United, with the Liverpool born and bread Gerrard scoring two after his return from injury. Gerrard remains near the top of the goal scorers list for the EPL, and along with a goal from youngster Ryan Babel, Liverpool won comfortably 3-0 in this end of the year, away match.

Phil McNulty wrote his column on this match, and highlighted how dominant Liverpool were from the start, showing champion-like control of the ball, pressure, and defense. This is something that has been brewing ever since that epic tie with Arsenal a few weeks back.

Manchester United won today against their derby rival Manchester City, and for all LFC fans and those who hate Man U, it was a hard day to watch Man U go to the top of the league once more. Like previously mentioned last week, Liverpool’s best chance at a 19th title is Man U losing in their upcoming match against Arsenal.

Rafa Benitez still thinks that his boys have a chance at winning a 19th home with all of the pressure mounting on Manchester at the end of this long season. ESPN Soccernet also shows interest in a title-surge as the season is rapidly approaching its end. One way or the other the boys from Merseyside have had a great season, and as always we must sit back and be grateful You’ll Never Walk Alone.

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Edging Closer

Last week Liverpool faced off against a life-long rival, Newcastle United; this match displayed LFC’s clear tactical dominance as well as talented youth. With their captain missing form the line up, Liverpool faced off in a clash between legendary clubs. Liverpool’s young starters Benayoun and Lucas both scored to lead their squad to a 3-0, and edge closer to not only the end of the season, but also a possible title.

Manchester United also won last week, giving them still the advantage in the league with a game in hand. We have yet to see Man U falter since their loss a few league games back. As Manchester United moves closer to another league title, they also have advanced to the Champions League Final in Rome against opponents Barcelona. As that game takes place at the end of the month, they will certainly be distracted in their league matches as they attempt to become the first team to win back to back Champions League titles.

Liverpool will face off against West Ham United today with their captain Steven Gerrard back in action. Although being out of the lineup, Gerrard still remains on the EPL Top Scorers list; that clearly demonstrates his dominance and importance to Liverpool Football Club.

As the season moves even closer to its end, one thing is certain, Liverpool will not go down without a fight, and with Man U to still play Arsenal, Liverpool still have a chance to make it 19. So keep your chin up Kopites, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

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The Beginning of the End

This Tuesday at Anfield there were a clash of the EPL titans; the end result has already been called by Phil McNuilty as an “Instant Classic.” There have been few games in the three years I have followed professional football in Europe that left me this distraught as to how to feel at the end of the 90 minutes. Courtesy of BBC

With a result of 4-4 you would have expected there to be about 4 goals per half, but certainly that is not how the fateful match played out. With only one goal occurring in the first half, the second half held the most exciting football that I have ever had the privilege of watching. With every strike, there was a counter strike, every brutal tackle, another reciprocated just seconds later. Every time one team edged its nose ahead of the other, an abrupt strike of greatness would flash and level the two once more. With Andrey Arshavin grabbing 4 goals for his Londoner side, he clearly stood out as the Man of the Match, but it seemed every time he brought his team closer to victory, Torres and his Israeli counterpart Yossi Benayoun leveled the score back even. Courtesy of BBC

In the last 5 minutes of the game (including injury time) the onlookers saw not only Arsenal pull ahead 4-3, but also in the 3rd minute of stoppage time Benayoun put in a 4th for Liverpool and salvage one point in this match of a centuries worth of rivalry.

Ultimately both teams are worse off taking only one point away from this week, and may even consider the loss of two points as a defeat. In fact, the one team who clearly benefited from this outcome was title contenders Manchester United.

Wednesday showed Chelsea squaring off against fellow Merseysiders Everton, and Portsmouth facing Manchester United. These two games held little excitement as only two goals were had between the two games. And with a 0-0 draw between Chelsea and Everton, that leaves a victor in the match between Man U and Portsmouth. And unfortunately for all Kopites it was their title contending rivals who picked up the three points and paved their way closer to tying Liverpool’s record of 18 Premier League titles. Courtesy of BBC

This week saw Liverpool fall backwards in their chase for their only metal of the season. But the pressure is not off Man U quite yet as there are still a handful of tough games left in their schedule, and with two of their best defensive players laid off on injury, their is still time for them to slip.

Liverpool now certainly have their work cut out for them, but they will have the support of every Kopite and also the hopes of every Man U hater as they fight to make it 19 league titles in LFC History. As this story unfolds only one thing remains stable for the boys at LFC and their fans across the world, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

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Liverpool v Arsenal (prematch)

A clash of titans will occur Tuesday unveiling possible title hopes for one, but not the other. Liverpool Led the league most of the season while Arsenal have fought hard to stay in the top five and remain eligible for a place in next year’s Champions League. With Cesc Fabregas back in action as Arsenal’s young Captain, they will certainly be on the charge as they strike against a Liverpool side who has not drawn or lost in five league matches.

There have been strong rumors by the big journals such as BBC and FourFourTwo that LFC Captain, Steven Gerrard will not be starting for the Mighty Reds. This brings concern to many Merseysiders as he is the emotional leader and key goal scorer for their title-contending squad.

Something that Liverpool certainly have going for them which also counts against Arsenal is the opportunity of LFC to now focus on EPL fixtures alone. Arsenal is not only finishing a frustrating season in the EPL, but also have fixtures in the FA Cup and also the Champions League. ESPN Soccernet discussed how this will prove to be a strong distraction to their focus as Liverpool have only one set of silver in their sights, their first league title in 19 years.

Torres is coming of a string of successful offensive games as he has entered the top scorers list, look to him for critical goals Tuesday. This season’s end is rapidly approaching, and whether you feel the dream is intact, or you simply love the boys from the Pool you know… You’ll Never Walk Alone.

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Hillsborough Remembered

This is a special post, in honor of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives 2o years ago today. The Hillsborough Disaster was a deadly human crush that occurred on 15 April 1989, at Hillsborough, a football stadium home to Sheffield Wednesday in Sheffield, England, resulting in the deaths of 96 people (all fans of Liverpool Football Club). It remains the deadliest stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the worst in international football. 

Rafa Benitez had a bit to say about this tragic day in an interview with BBC Sport. Liverpool’s very own captain, Steven Gerrard lost his cousin when he was only 9 in this disaster, his perspective on this day is one of pain, and seeking justice. His words on the matter are also captured BBC Sport

A total of 94 people died on the day, with 766 other fans being injured and around 300 being taken to hospital. Four days later, the death toll reached 95 when 14-year-old Lee Nicol died in hospital from his injuries. The final death toll became 96 in March 1993, when Tony Bland died after remaining in a coma for nearly four years.

The disaster will always be remembered by Liverpool and all of its supporters, and to commemorate this memory, LFC added two flames on their crest to symbolize the flame that will always burn for the victims of that tragedy. 

To properly remember those whose who passed away 20 years ago today, here are the names of those eternally faithful Liverpool fans:

John Alfred Anderson (62) Colin Mark Ashcroft (19) James Gary Aspinall (18) Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16) Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67) Simon Bell (17) Barry Sidney Bennett (26) David John Benson (22) David William Birtle (22) Tony Bland (22) Paul David Brady (21) Andrew Mark Brookes (26) Carl Brown (18) David Steven Brown (25) Henry Thomas Burke (47) Peter Andrew Burkett (24) Paul William Carlile (19) Raymond Thomas Chapman (50) Gary Christopher Church (19) Joseph Clark (29) Paul Clark (18) Gary Collins (22) Stephen Paul Copoc (20) Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23) James Philip Delaney (19) Christopher Barry Devonside (18) Christopher Edwards (29) Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34) Thomas Steven Fox (21) Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10) Barry Glover (27) Ian Thomas Glover (20) Derrick George Godwin (24) Roy Harry Hamilton (34) Philip Hammond (14) Eric Hankin (33) Gary Harrison (27) Stephen Francis Harrison (31) Peter Andrew Harrison (15) David Hawley (39) James Robert Hennessy (29) Paul Anthony Hewitson (26) Carl Darren Hewitt (17) Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16) Sarah Louise Hicks (19) Victoria Jane Hicks (15) Gordon Rodney Horn (20) Arthur Horrocks (41)

Thomas Howard (39) Thomas Anthony Howard (14) Eric George Hughes (42) Alan Johnston (29) Christine Anne Jones (27) Gary Philip Jones (18) Richard Jones (25) Nicholas Peter Joynes (27) Anthony Peter Kelly (29) Michael David Kelly (38) Carl David Lewis (18) David William Mather (19) Brian Christopher Mathews (38) Francis Joseph McAllister (27) John McBrien (18) Marion Hazel McCabe (21) Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21) Peter McDonnell (21) Alan McGlone (28) Keith McGrath (17) Paul Brian Murray (14) Lee Nicol (14) Stephen Francis O’Neill (17) Jonathon Owens (18) William Roy Pemberton (23) Carl William Rimmer (21) David George Rimmer (38) Graham John Roberts (24) Steven Joseph Robinson (17) Henry Charles Rogers (17) Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23) Inger Shah (38) Paula Ann Smith (26) Adam Edward Spearritt (14) Philip John Steele (15) David Leonard Thomas (23) Patrik John Thompson (35) Peter Reuben Thompson (30) Stuart Paul William Thompson (17) Peter Francis Tootle (21) Christopher James Traynor (26) Martin Kevin Traynor (16) Kevin Tyrrell (15) Colin Wafer (19) Ian David Whelan (19) Martin Kenneth Wild (29) Kevin Daniel Williams (15) Graham John Wright (17)

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Bittersweet Anfield

As it is, Liverpool has now fallen out of the most prestigious European club tournament in the world. In the last week or so Liverpool has faced Chelsea FC twice and fallen short by two goals in the two leg series. This marks the first time they have not reached the semi-finals of this tournament in many years.

This comes as a great disappointment to fans, but LFC’s triumphant win against Blackburn on Saturday where they found a 4-0 victory in the EPL.This win marked another victory on the road to title contention, and with Manchester United beginning to feel the pressure of being perfect, Liverpool is now exactly where they want to be.

According to FourFourTwo magazine, one of Liverpool’s problems they may soon face is the lack of development of reserve players now that every game has been a “must win” to stay in the title race. BBC Sport has stayed consistently out of predicting a winner of the race, which considering their history as trying to stay neutral, not a strange move.

ESPN Soccernet has been less verbal about such predictions as well. This trend seems to be a tactic of just not making anyone upset, and with these two clubs being so large and having so many fans, things would inevitably get messy very fast. In fact, the online debates and comment blogs have been frequently censored since this race began to get interesting.

Ultimately Man U has the advantage being 1 point clear with one less game played, but their work has been cut out for them by Liverpool. The record of 18 English titles is on the line, and Liverpool will not go easily out of history, especially now that LFC has fallen out of the Champions League.

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