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The close season departure of manager Rafael Benitez to European club champions Internazionale and his replacement by successful Fulham boss Roy Hodgson ought to herald a fresh new era at Anfield, as the club attempts to end what, by next May, will be a 21-year wait for an English title.
Last season was Liverpool’s worst for many years with a seventh-place finish in the EPL allied to failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. And Benitez was looking an increasingly harried figure as he attempted to explain away his team’s consistent mediocrity.
The Spaniard still commanded considerable loyalty from the Anfield faithful. But his replacement was due. And Hodgson is a fine manager and a fine appointment, which should become apparent as he shapes his own team this season.
But the spectre of the continuing boardroom struggles continues to provide greater drama and, for opposition fans at least, entertainment. And while the boardroom stasis continues, so does the wait for the club’s much-desired new 60,000-capacity stadium at Stanley Park, near Anfield.
Hodgson has quickly identified the extra revenue generated by the extra 16,000 people the Reds will surely be able to attract to home games as vital to Liverpool’s efforts to keep up with the “new” big four in the EPL, in which they have been replaced by big-spending Manchester City.
And it remains to be seen how much longer the “big two” in Liverpool’s squad, captain Steven Gerrard and prolific goalscorer Fernando Torres, will tolerate the club’s lack of progress and, frankly, class off-the-field.
Liverpool do, however, still possess talent most other EPL clubs crave. Allied to Gerrard and Torres are in-form goalkeeper Pepe Reina, attacking full-back Glen Johnson and the evergreen local hero Jamie Carragher.
And Liverpool have added no little talent to their roster in the form of Chelsea free transfer and England midfielder Joe Cole. Cole remains a largely unfulfilled talent, the highest-profile and most obvious victim of squad rotations at Stamford Bridge. But he looks likely to command a regular place in a Liverpool midfield shorn of the under-used Yossi Benayoun and the under-achieving Javier Mascherano.
Hodgson has also signed former charges Paul Konchesky at full-back and Christian Poulsen in a utility role. But the acquisition of Portuguese World Cup star Raul Meireles could be a significant as Cole, with Liverpool seeking a more attacking outlook than was often evident under Benitez.With Manchester United alongside Liverpool on eighteen English league titles, it could be a very important season indeed for Liverpool Football Club. And thanks to Live Sports Network, you don’t have to miss a minute.
A Brief History
It is virtually impossible to write a “brief” history of Liverpool FC. They are the most successful club team in English football history. Anfield has also been the home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the early days. A dispute over rent in 1892 meant that Everton were made to leave the ground, and club Chairman John Houlding decided to form another side to play at Anfield. The name given to the side was Liverpool Football Club.
The joined the Football League in 1893 and won their first League Championship in 1900/1, not knowing that a further 17 were to follow. Their first appearance at Wembley, the home of English football, was in the 1950 FA Cup final but they had to wait further 15 years to lift the trophy.
December 1st 1959, a date that Liverpool fans, and anybody associated with the club, will not forget in a hurry. Relatively unknown manager Bill Shankly had left his post at Huddersfield Town and been appointed the new Liverpool manager. Shankly had the ideas to build Liverpool into the untouchables, a side that nobody could get close to. It seemed some time away as Liverpool were then in Division Two, following their relegation in 1954.
Shankly began transforming the club from the bottom to the top. He released no less than 24 players in his first season, and began re-building the squad, his way. When he arrived he became the first man ever to pick a team for Liverpool, as it was generally considered not part of the manager's job.
His third season in the hot seat brought Liverpool the Second Division Championship and promotion to the highest echelon of English league football, where they have remained ever since.
Under Shankly, Liverpool won three league titles, the 1974 FA Cup and most notably their first European success, the UEFA Cup, in 1973. Shankly resigned in 1974 and Bob Paisley took over.
Liverpool under Paisley went from strength to strength, building on the Shankly legacy, and through until his retirement in 1983, the Reds won no less than six league titles, three consecutive League Cups, The UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and an astonishing three European Cups in ’77, ’78 and ’81. The hero of the second of those wins, Kenny Dalglish, went on to become player manager after the short but still successful reign of Joe Fagan, another Anfield boot room boy.
If the 70's brought European recognition to a fantastic side, the 80's saw complete domestic domination, with seven league titles, two FA Cups, four consecutive League Cups, and two more European Cups. Liverpool was an awesome team to watch.
The shadow cast on May 29, 1985, when 39 lives were lost amongst crowd disturbances at the European Cup Final against Juventus, was huge. English clubs were subsequently banned from European competition for five years, in Liverpool's case it was ten years (later reduced to six). Joe Fagan who had taken over from Bob Paisley in 1983, resigned following the disaster.
Dalglish became the first player-manager Liverpool had ever appointed. His success, most notably winning Liverpool’s only-ever League and FA Cup double, in 1985/86 - his first season in charge - again was clouded with tragedy in 1989, when 96 fans lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster.
Since those heady days of domestic and European domination, Liverpool have had to rely on cup competitions to provide their highs. Coaches came and went but it wasn’t until former French national coach Gerrard Houllier too charge that they really began emerging as a force once more. The amazing 'Treble' in 2000/01, winning the FA Cup, Carling Cup, and UEFA Cup seemed to herald a return to the glory days but the re-start faltered and Rafa Benitez arrived.
Whilst poor league form delivered little at home, the now-famous comeback in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final from 0-3 down against AC Milan is the stuff of legend. That night made heroes of everyone in a red shirt but keeper Jerzy Dudek saw his stock rise higher that most with an impressive penalty shoot-out performance to add to what remains to this day one of the saves of the decade to deny Milan a last-minute winner. A year later then won the FA Cup with another penalty shoot-out win, this time against West Ham United although a further Champions League final in 2007 saw Milan gain revenge.
The remaining years of Benitez’s reign were largely ones of under-achievement, with their inability to build the EPL runners-up spot they clinched in 2009 signalling the end for the Spanish manager. Roy Hodgson’s appointment could easily be a brave new dawn for Liverpool. But the glory days still seem a little distant yet.
But watching live Liverpool matches is never dull or boring. Live online streaming of all Liverpool games can be accessed right here on Live Sport Network via our dedicated members area. You never have to miss a match and can watch Liverpool live in the Premier League, Champions League and domestic cups thanks to Live Sport Network.
Tags: Liverpool, Liverpool live, Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson, EPL, Anfield, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Jamie Carragher., Joe Cole., Paul Konchesky, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles, FA Cup final, UEFA Cup, Kenny Dalglish, European Cup, Carling Cup, Rafa Benitez, UEFA Champions League, live Liverpool