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.
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.
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.
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.