Ten defining moments of the decade at Liverpool Football Club
29th December 2009, Villa Park, Birmingham. 93rd minute, with seconds, left Fernando Torres once again popped up in the opposition area to win it for Liverpool. The win propelled the Reds to 7th in the table, 2 points off their opponents in 6th. A far cry from the heights this team had hit just a season before.
It was Liverpool’s 6th win in 19 games, but the ability to snatch the win at Villa Park was seen as an omen of better things to come. Fans went into the new year full of hope, expecting a turnaround.
It was anything but. A fall from grace, mediocracy, court hearings, renewed hope, false dawns, incompetence, and a resurgence all followed. It was a cornucopia of emotions as Liverpool seemed to be on the cusp of something special, only to fall and reset once again.
Ten years on, as the final whistle went off at against Wolves, Anfield rose to celebrate another routine victory in what has become the norm of late. Liverpool rounded off both the year and the decade having lost just once all year in the league.
The European and World champions do not show any sign of slowing down with an insatiable desire to ascend the altar of greatness.
Today, we take a look at ten defining moments of the decade for Liverpool Football Club.
10) FSG backs down on ticket prices and apologizes to fans
Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Group, backed down on their proposal to increase ticket prices in the face of overwhelming protest.
It may be argued that FSG had no choice in the wake of such opposition but it also showed a willingness from the owners to listen to the fans and act on it.
Principal owner John Henry apologized to fans in an open letter and showed that they were here for the long haul and are committed to the club.
9) First target achieved – Champions League qualification in 2016/17
Liverpool had qualified for the UEFA Champions League just once in the last six years. Having lost the Europa League final to Sevilla the previous season, the Reds had to take the league route to get there.
Going into the final day of the season against Middlesborough, Liverpool needed a win to guarantee qualification. Gini Wijlandum popped up on the verge of halftime in what was a nervy encounter to put Liverpool a goal up at the break.
Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana scored in the second half to make sure that Liverpool achieved their target for the season.
Phase one of Klopp’s Liverpool rebuild had gone according to plan and the Reds have been regulars at the top table ever since.
8) Doubters to Believers – Comeback win against Dortmund
Klopp worked his magic on a night in April as Liverpool came back from 2-0 down and then again from 3-1 down to win it 4-3 in stoppage time.
Under the lights at Anfield, with a frenzied crowd egging them on, the Reds kept fighting until the end and prevailed when Dejan Lovren headed in at the far post.
It was to become a watershed moment with respect to the never give up mentality among both players and supporters.
7) Home sweet home – Anfield to be redeveloped
Liverpool decided to shelve plans for a new stadium and by choosing to redevelop Anfield instead, the club will continue to vie for dominance powered by their spiritual home.
Anfield is one of the world’s greatest sporting arenas and is steemed in European footballing folklore for its ability to galvanize the players in Red.
The first phase of the redevelopment was completed with the opening of the new main stand in 2016, increasing the stadium’s capacity by 8500 seats.
The club are currently looking to redevelop the Anfield Road end. Current and future players will get the chance to add to the stadium’s lore while revelling in its aura.
6) Transfer Acumen – Appointment of Michael Edwards
Gone are the days when Liverpool overspent on a player or were held ransom to pay through the nose.
Enter Michael Edwards, who took over as sporting director in 2016. Formerly the director of technical performance, Edwards was part of the infamous transfer committee.
The Englishman has shown astuteness in able to identify talents who are world-class or have gone on to become world-class without having to pay over the top.
Edwards was instrumental in the signings of Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane among others.
Under him, Liverpool have also been able to sell off deadwood at impressive prices with the likes of Dominic Solanke, Mamadou Sakho and Danny Ings being sold for profits.
Apart from his proficiency in the transfer market, Edwards also has had an excellent working relationship with Klopp which augurs well for the club’s ambitions.
5) Kiev Heartbreak- Lessons learnt in a heartbreaking loss
It was meant to be the night the fairytale run came full circle. Instead, it turned out to be the catalyst for the beginning of a larger circle of dominance.
The nature of the loss still hurts, but it was a brutal lesson in pragmatism that was learnt well by both the players and the manager.
It shows the mental strength of the players to come back from such a loss and go one better the next year.
This was the incident that birthed Klopp’s mentality monsters.
4) Justice delivered- Hillsborough Independent Committee report
In 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel concluded that Liverpool fans did not contribute to the Hillsborough disaster, citing ‘lack of police control’ as the reason for the tragedy.
It came as a vindication to the families who have fought for over two decades against overwhelming odds to clear the names of their loved ones.
The 96 will never be forgotten on Merseyside.
3) European Royalty – Number 6 in Madrid
It had the look of destiny as Liverpool lifted our sixth European Cup/ Champions League in Madrid, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0.
The journey to the final was filled with drama and moments of magic as Liverpool defied overwhelming odds over and over again.
Alisson Becker saved from point-blank against Napoli to keep us in the competition and who can forget the comeback against Barcelona, arguably the greatest night at Anfield.
The Championship run epitomized Klopp’s philosophy and brought about a culture of winning trophies – one that showed in the victories to follow in the Super Cup and Club World Cup.
2) End of an Epic Swindle-Hicks and Gillet kicked out
It may seem like a nightmare today but ten years ago, Liverpool were just a day away from going into administration.
The Hicks and Gillet tenure is one of the darkest phases in the club’s history with crippling debts, soured relationships with supporters and manager, broken promises, lack of investment and being lied to becoming the norm of the day.
Both Hicks and Gillet were forced to relinquish control of the club by the court with FSG’s offer to buy the club greenlit.
FSG (previously NESV), have had their slip-ups but have shown over the years that they are committed to the club’s rise to glory.
1) The second coming of Shankley – Liverpool sign Jurgen Klopp
It was third time lucky for FSG as they finally got the man they coveted to lead the Red revolution at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield to much fanfare. He took over a team that lacked both a character and an identity and gave them a direction.
‘The Normal One’ promised no miracles but has delivered nothing short of one as he has galvanized the club from the bottom up – both on and off the pitch. He has taken a team flirting on the edges of Europea League to European and world domination.
If Liverpool become a bastion of invincibility once again, it will be because Klopp laid the foundation for us to do so.