Liverpool fans are likely to get a little misty-eyed when they see Steven Gerrard’s latest post on Instagram: a screenshot of the Reds’ line-up from 10 March 2009, the night Liverpool beat Spanish giants Real Madrid 4-0 at Anfield in the Champions League knockout rounds.
Gerrard posted the line-up - which featured Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel and Torres - alongside the caption: “Spine 👌💪”
Gerrard was referring to the spine of the Liverpool team that night, comprised of Pepe Reina in goal, Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel in central defence, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso in central midfield and Gerrard himself behind Torres upfront.
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Liverpool humbled Real Madrid on a memorable evening in front of their home fans, with Gerrard netting a brace, Torres scoring one and substitute Andrea Dossena adding gloss to the scoreline with a late fourth. Heady days and a far cry from the current situation at Anfield.
However, Liverpool were knocked out in the quarter-finals of that year’s Champions League campaign by Chelsea, who recorded a 7-5 aggregate victory after two hugely entertaining legs.
Liverpool should have won title in 2009 and 2014
This was the same season Liverpool went agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title for the first time since 1990.
But despite beating Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford, four days after their famous win over Real Madrid at Anfield, Liverpool finished the 2008-09 season four points behind the Red Devils.
This would prove to be Liverpool’s best chance of ending their Premier League title drought until 2014, when a gut-wrenching end-of-season capitulation eventually saw Manchester City finish two points ahead of Brendan Rodgers’ side.
On both occasions Gerrard and Liverpool should have won the Premier League title - but on both occasions they ended up shooting themselves in the foot.
Liverpool fans: was the team of 2008-09 stronger than the team of 2013-14? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!