Liverpool: Where it all went wrong

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Just four seasons ago, back in the 2008/09 campaign, Liverpool F.C. fell just short of becoming Premier League champions for the first time in their history.

Instead they finished second after a long hard season which witnessed them push Manchester United all the way, and even occupy the top spot at the turn of the year.

In the same season they amassed the best goal difference in the division, stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford by coming away 4-1 victors and provided one of the games of the season in a 4-4 draw with Arsenal in which Andrei Arshavin famously scored all four of Arsenal's goals.

Since then however, it seems Liverpool have slid down a very slippery slope. With a change in owners, four separate managers and equalling their lowest Premier League finish of 8th place, something they hadn't done since the 1993/94 season, the question that begs to be asked is where it all went wrong?

For starters it seems logical to begin the investigation at the beginning of the 2007-08 campaign, shortly after unpopular owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet purchased the football club for around £435 million.

Rafael Benitez- 2007-08
During the summer of 2007, Rafael Benitez urged new owners Gillet and Hick to invest in the team after losing out to A.C Milan in the UEFA Champions League final.

Benitez soon got his wish and that season splashed the cash, breaking the Liverpool transfer record in the process by bringing in Spanish star Fernando Torres from Athletico Madrid.

However, following a run of poor results both domestically and in Europe the relationship between manager and owners turned sour.

What followed was a public fall out over transfers and Benitez' position at Liverpool came under increased speculation.

The relationship was damaged even further when it emerged that Liverpool owners had held talks with Jurgen Klinsmann over possibly becoming the next manager at Liverpool.

Relations between the owners and the manager continued to worsen over the summer as Benitez planned to bring in Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

The owners had other ideas and instead urged Benitez to hold negotiations with Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane.

Keane arrived during the summer transfer window but left in January after an unimpressive six month spell with the club. Despite the turmoil between owners and manager, Liverpool had one of their best Premier League campaigns, finishing second and in the same year thumping Real Madrid 4-0 and Manchester United 4-1.

Benitez even went on to sign a five-year contract extension, quashing the rumours of his speculated dismissal.

2009/10 proved to be a defining season in the modern history of Liverpool Football Club, but for all the wrong reasons. During the summer, fans were expecting the club to push on from their second place finish by challenging once more for the title, hoping this time to finally bring the Premier League trophy to Merseyside.

However, the campaign ended with Liverpool finishing in 7th place, leading to Benitez' sacking. In the same year fan favourite Xabi Alonso was sold to Real Madrid, leaving fans confused.

A run of defeats in the league, accompanied by an early group stage exit from the Champions League saw fans criticising both the American owners and the manager.

Roy Hodgson- 2010
The summer of 2010 saw Liverpool welcome in the now-England manager Roy Hodgson. Hodgson however only lasted in the job until January after a run of poor results in the league and early exits from the League Cup and F.A Cup.

His questionable transfer business during the summer, including acquisitions such as 29-year-old left back Paul Konchesky for £3 million from Fulham and 30-year-old Christian Poulsen arriving from Juventus for £4.5 million, were also reason believed to result in his dismissal.

During the month of October, following pressure from the fans, the club was sold to Fenway Sports Group with Gillet and Hicks being replaced by John W. Henry as the owner of Liverpool F.C. A “new era” was promised to the Liverpool fans from the new owners and with rumours of the return of “king” Kenny Daglish to manage the club, things looked promising for the reds.

Kenny Daglish- 2011
January 2011 saw the eventual appointment of club legend Kenny Daglish.

In what turned out to be a record breaking month in terms of transfer business, Liverpool sold star striker Fernando Torres to rivals Chelsea for £50 million and brought in Andy Carroll from newly promoted Newcastle United for £35 million.

Adding to this was the exciting signing of hot headed striker Luis Suarez for £22.5 million. Results soon started to improve and Liverpool finished the season on a high note standing 6th in the league at the end of May.

The 2011-12 season also looked promising for Liverpool F.C. The January signings of Suarez and Carroll were joined by expensive summer additions in Stewart Downing from Aston Villa for £20 million, Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for £16 million and Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam, Sebastian Coates arriving for around £6 million each. Craig Bellamy and Doni also both arrived, on free transfers respectively.

Going the other way were notable signings Roy Hodgson had made just 12 months previous, Konchesky, Poulsen and Raul Meirelles all saw themselves leave the north-West of England.

The season however, was again one of mixed fortunes. Liverpool successfully obtained the Carling Cup and just missed out on the F.A Cup by finishing as runners-up.

The league campaign however was unacceptable according to owners and fans, with Liverpool ending up in 8th place. This was their lowest finish since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams.

Brendan Rogers- 2012-13
The summer of 2012 saw Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish sacked and replaced by Swansea City manager Brendan Rogers.

Liverpool's season this time round wasn't exactly a success either, though many fans seemed content with the job Rogers has done. Early exits from the domestic competitions meant that Liverpool were solely concentrating on the league as of February, after being eliminated from the Europa League.

A shock defeat to League One side Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup led to some anger and confusion amongst the Liverpool fans but the majority continued to back the new manager.

And with good reason some might say as Liverpool managed to successfully acquire young prospects in Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, signalling a change in focus on the youth as providing success for Liverpool in the future.

The season ended with another Suarez incident after he bit Chelsea centre back Branislav on the field of play.

What resulted was a 10-match ban and speculation over the front man's future.

Summer 2013
The summer of 2013 for Liverpool has mainly revolved around Luis Suarez and his future at the club.

Suarez has expressed a desire to leave and Liverpool have reportedly received bids from Arsenal and Real Madrid who are both keen on bringing the Uruguayan into their squads for the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign.

Adding to this is the recent controversy over loaning fan favourite and number one goalkeeper Pepe Reina to Italian side Napoli, a move which he claims was never discussed with him until the negotiations were made final.

Adding to this, even more turmoil could be unveiled at the club with fresh reports that the American owners are seeking to sell Liverpool F.C. after it was revealed that Fenway Sports Group were unhappy with the club's performances and transfer dealings, most notably the Andy Carroll saga.

What now for Liverpool?
So with all this in mind, what does the season ahead hold for Liverpool? Well, it could go one of many ways depending on whether the Luis Suarez situation is resolved before the big kick off.

Should the Uruguayan get his way and leave the club, it could either provide stability amongst the Liverpool camp or spring up even more turmoil.

Suarez, the top goal scorer for Liverpool last campaign, would leave big boots to fill and with the transfer window drawing ever nearer to a close it would be hard for Liverpool to find a similar striker of Suarez' quality to bring in.

That would leave either Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini or new boy Iago Aspas to step up and become number one front man for Liverpool next season with the responsibility of scoring at least 20 goals.

Should the situation be resolved or at least pushed aside until next season, the prospect of Luis Suarez staying at Liverpool will no doubt spark mixed reviews amongst the Anfield faithful.

Many fans in the past week have turned their backs on Suarez whilst others remain hopeful he will change his mind. The whole situation is similar to that of Carlos Tevez at Manchester City during the 2011/12 campaign when the Argentine sought an immediate transfer away from the club.

After resolving his issues he quickly became a fan favourite again, but not before being reminded of his unfaithfulness by some sections of the Etihad crowd.


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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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