Nathan Fulgado Saturday, 11 July 2020

You'll Never Walk Alone

Nathan Fulgado
Saturday, 11 July 2020

You'll Never Walk Alone

A 30-year journey culminated on the 26th of July. An intense game between top rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, the result of which ended 2-1 in favour of the latter, was enough to knock a hapless Manchester City out of the title race and crown Liverpool champions. A 30-year long wait came to end as goals from Christian Pulisic and Willian ensured that City were knocked out of the title race with seven games to go. At the time of this article being written, Liverpool were on top of the table with 86 points and second placed City at 63. With seven games to go, even a miracle would not stop Liverpool from lifting the trophy. While Liverpool were the most consistently dominant team in Europe, this is exactly what it cost to break a 30-year curse. Prior to their recent triumph, Liverpool last won the Premier League in 1991. After that, their success and dominance nosedived till 2001, where Gerard Houllier led them to success in the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup (now called the Europa League). After another three seasons without any silverware, Houllier was replaced by the Spaniard Rafael, Benitez who won them the Champions League, otherwise known as the Miracle in Istanbul, where Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half time, to 3-3 at full time and winning 3-2 by penalty shootout, but the Premier League trophy was still missing from their trophy cabinet. Manchester United slowly overtook Liverpool as the most consistently dominant team under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson. Benitez was replaced by Roy Hodgson, Hodgson was replaced by former Liverpool skipper Kenny Dalglish, who was replaced by Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool’s horrid luck finally changed after the appointment of a German manager, Jurgen Klopp. The former manager of German side Borussia Dortmund had led his club to the Champions League final and a Bundesliga crown by edging out arch rivals Bayern Munich. Klopp was the most decorated replacement for Brendan Rodgers whose last season for the club was an absolute disaster, as Liverpool had descended to the bottom half of the table for a substantial amount of time. It was such a disastrous state of affairs at Anfield that on Steven Gerrard’s last game for Liverpool, the Reds were smashed 6-1 by lowly placed Stoke City. Jurgen Klopp was a breath of fresh air in the Premier League. What seemed to be a parody of Jose Mourinho, turned out to be a passionate and eccentric genius whose target was to get trophies back to Liverpool, and that is a statement that has definitely aged well. After the loss of talents like Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling to FC Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, Klopp made a variety of changes to a broken Liverpool squad which lifted them from obscurity and brought them back into the top four. The arrival of three players changed the landscape at Anfield completely, them being Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk and Mohammed Salah. Klopp led Liverpool to a Europa League final, two Champions League finals and a UCL trophy, a UEFA Super Cup. FIFA Club World Cup and now the Premier League title.

After finishing second to Manchester City by just ONE point in the 2018/19 season, Klopp’s Liverpool went on an absolute rampage in all competitions. Liverpool went on a 44-game unbeaten streak (extending from the previous season) and along the way, beat every top six rival of theirs except a draw to their bitterest rivals Manchester United. They corrected that by beating them 2-0 at Anfield in the return fixture, in what seemed to be the game that decided whose name would go on the trophy. A shock loss to Watford and being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid was not enough to deter Klopp’s men, who were on a path to lifting the Premier League title, Unfortunately, what Manchester City, Pep Guardiola and even VAR (Video Assistant Referee) couldn’t manage, a global pandemic almost brought Liverpool to their knees. To the good fortunes of Liverpool fans all around the world, and the incredible efforts of the National Health Service, the season was able to restart and Liverpool were finally crowned Champions of England and ended a 30-year wait for the title.