Football

Liverpool: Where did it all go wrong?

Rodgers will be hoping his side can finish in the top four next season (©GettyImages)
Rodgers will be hoping his side can finish in the top four next season (©GettyImages).

Liverpool were once the most successful football club in existence and in their history they have won 18 league titles, eight League Cups, seven FA Cups, five European Cups and three UEFA Cups. 

Simply put, the Anfield club are a staple of world football on the basis of their history. 

However, those days seem to be at an end, with Liverpool finishing behind Everton, meaning that they will not be competing in Europe next year due to Wigan and Swansea's cup wins. But how did the rot begin to set in? 

As little as five seasons ago, Liverpool were really challenging for league honours and they were rarely out of the top four, barring the slight blip in 2005 when they last won the Champions League, finishing  fifth. 

However, since 2009/10 the Kop has endured finishes of seventh, sixth, eighth and seventh in consecutive years. 

This is not considered acceptable to the Anfield faithful who are accustomed to trophies, high finishes and big signings, and justifiably so, considering their history. The question is: what happened?

Ever since the Premier League’s conception, Liverpool have failed to win the title which, many argue, was when their decline began. For a club of their stature within the modern game, this seems inconceivable, yet remains the case. 

However, they continued to challenge for trophies, with the Champions League win in 2005 and FA Cups in 2001 and 2006, being the most poignant instances.

However, this article would suggest that it all started in Rafa Benitez's sixth and final season: 2009/10. He sold pivotal players such as Sami Hyypia and Xabi Alonso and began the trend of purchasing overrated individuals for hefty sums; players who just weren't of a high enough quality or levels of dedication to pull on the famed red jersey. 

The acquisition of Alberto Aquilani that year is a prime example. The next season saw the loss of star striker Fernando Torres, with his replacement being Andrew Carroll who suffered a terrible lack of form while at the Anfield club, scoring only six goals in 44 Premiership appearances. 

Roy Hodgson failed to bring back the glory days, as he was expected to, or the very least to improve on their poor league position. Current England manager, Hodgson was sacked after 31 games in charge, being replaced by Kop legend Kenny Dalglish.

We then move on to 2011/12 when Liverpool suffered their worst league finish since 1994, ending the season in 8th. This season epitomised the club’s focus on buying mediocre English players at ridiculous costs such as Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. Combined, their transfer fees reached £40 million.

The most recent season resulted in the goal-scoring burden being borne almost exclusively by Luis Suarez. Liverpool finished behind local arch-rivals, yet Rodgers has not been relieved of his duties as he seems to be being offered the chance of returning the Anfield club to prominence.

Coutinho seems to be a superb buy and the performances of Henderson have improved drastically. If anyone has a chance of making the Kop proud once more then it is Mr Rodgers. 

However, he must move quickly to secure decent signings this summer, allowing them to gel with the rest of the squad. If he does not, then another dismal season awaits Liverpool, something the other clubs in the north, especially, will be hoping for. 

If this sleeping giant does rise, then they may just be a force to be reckoned with once again. At this moment in time, though, it seems content to slumber on.

 

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Topics:
Football
Liverpool
Premier League

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