Author Topic: The OFFICIAL Liverpool FC thread - European,World and Premier League Champions!!  (Read 4202350 times)

Tony Baloney

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laoislad

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https://www.ft.com/content/4640e9d7-58e5-47d9-92a1-2ff3bdef51ce

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Champions 2020

brokencrossbar1

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@Gabriel_Hurl.....you need to update the Trophy Cabinet, no 6 and no 19 and the World Club are missing!

johnnycool

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The title was never in doubt since January.

Best team won it.

But don't win too many more.   ;D

GetOverTheBar

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The title was never in doubt since January.

Best team won it.

But don't win too many more.   ;D

Absolutely the best team won. Unfortunately the scenes at Anfield last night on a much greater scale than sport are not ideal.

johnnycool

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The title was never in doubt since January.

Best team won it.

But don't win too many more.   ;D

Absolutely the best team won. Unfortunately the scenes at Anfield last night on a much greater scale than sport are not ideal.

There were probably more on that beach in Bournemouth..

Lockdown and social distancing is all but over.

GetOverTheBar

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The title was never in doubt since January.

Best team won it.

But don't win too many more.   ;D

Absolutely the best team won. Unfortunately the scenes at Anfield last night on a much greater scale than sport are not ideal.

There were probably more on that beach in Bournemouth..

Lockdown and social distancing is all but over.


Hard to disagree, at this stage its falling apart rather comically. Might as well just lift it totally and be done with it.

seafoid

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https://www.ft.com/content/4640e9d7-58e5-47d9-92a1-2ff3bdef51ce

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   https://www.ft.com/content/4640e9d7-58e5-47d9-92a1-2ff3bdef51ce

   Why Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are on cusp of Premier League glory
Despite Covid-19 delay, ruthless efficiency looks set to deliver first championship title in 30 years

Jürgen Klopp has steadily built a Liverpool side that win more matches by a single goal than previous seasons, and are defensively far more solid © FT montage; Reuters; Dreamstime

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said the club would “not get carried away” after amassing a huge lead at the top of the English Premier League table.

The caution looked well placed after football matches were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the virus took its grip, England’s leading 20 clubs discussed curtailing the season, threatening to halt Liverpool’s seemingly unstoppable march towards a first league title in 30 years.

That charge is back on. Weeks of careful negotiations have led to the introduction of strict heath and hygiene protocols for the resumption of play, even if supporters are not allowed inside stadiums due to social distancing measures.

There are many permutations, but Liverpool could gain the points required to secure the League as early as this week. Having previously been on course to take the title in record time, it will be the latest any club has lifted the Premier League trophy. Every other season has concluded in May.

Asked the secret of the club’s impending success, Liverpool manager Klopp said: “No secrets, hard work . . . It’s not always [possible] to play our best football, but to give everybody a fight should always be possible.”

A statistical analysis of the team’s performances helps to show that Liverpool’s path to a long desired achievement is not just the product of passion, but also patient planning in the five years since the German took over from former manager Brendan Rodgers.


It is also the result of two decades of Klopp’s evolution as a coach, many years of behind the scenes transformation at the club and two seasons of consistent excellence from his players.

Liverpool came desperately close to winning the League last season, narrowly losing out to Manchester City despite accumulating 97 points. It is the highest tally achieved by a side to finish second in the Premier League. 

A slight drop off in Manchester City’s performances this season, alongside Liverpool maintaining their form, have led to a less competitive title race this term. 

Liverpool’s consistency comes from the side’s ruthless efficiency, winning a high number of games by a single goal. That is partly through design. 


Klopp, who managed German clubs Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund before arriving at Liverpool in 2015, has described his preferred playing style as “heavy metal football”. This combines hard “pressing” — to chase down opponents quickly around the pitch — with rapid, direct attacks. 

The strategy, designed to overwhelm opponents, risked physically exhausting Liverpool’s players. In response, over the past two seasons, Liverpool have adapted by playing more patient, possession-based football after going ahead in a match, helping to conserve energy.

“There were times when [Klopp] first came in, in one game we would be incredible and the next game would be garbage,” said Liverpool player James Milner. 

“There would be games that we would be ahead and keep attacking and sending lots of numbers forward and get caught on the break. I think you have seen that maturity, the learning of how to win games, manage games better and that knowhow.”

This plan is working. Liverpool have secured 13 more points this season than a team with their goal difference — the amount of goals scored, minus the amount conceded — would typically achieve. 

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The club have also benefited from the long term approach of their owners: Fenway Sports Group, a sports investment company controlled by US billionaire John W Henry, which acquired Liverpool for £300m in 2010.

The owners have insisted on a data-driven approach to football’s multibillion pound transfer market. This philosophy is pioneered by the likes of Michael Edwards and Ian Graham, Liverpool’s sporting director and head of research, who were both hired from Tottenham Hotspur. 

The club’s analysts have identified undervalued players from pools of talent that are relatively untapped by their rivals. In recent seasons, Liverpool have signed footballers from bottom-half Premier League teams, such as Sadio Mané from Southampton and Andrew Robertson from Hull City, both of whom have gone on to become stars. 


“Football is an efficient market, but there are inefficiencies in that good players will end up at bad teams occasionally,” said Omar Chaudhuri, head of football intelligence at 21st Club, a football consultancy. “If you know that, and no one else is looking at the same place, then you’ll find value.” 

This has allowed Liverpool to assemble a winning team while staying in compliance with so-called Financial Fair Play regulations, which demand that teams do not spend more than their means.

FFP rules are complex, but are intended to ensure teams break even, or at most, have €30m of losses over three seasons. Some spending is exempt, such as on stadiums, youth academies, or women’s teams. The rules limit overspending on players, rather than the club.

That does not mean the club has won on the cheap. Two of its most important recent signings, Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk and Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker, vastly improved the team’s defence. They were important figures in Liverpool’s victory in last season’s Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious club tournament.

The pair were acquired for world record transfer fees for their respective playing positions, reportedly costing a combined £150m. This outlay is possible because Liverpool are one of the richest clubs in the world, benefiting from its share of the Premier League’s multiyear broadcasting worth £9.2bn, more than any other domestic competition in Europe. Annual revenues rose by nearly £78m to £533m in the year ending 31 May 2019.


But Liverpool are still outperforming their competitors relative to their spending. They have the third highest wage bill in the Premier League behind Manchester City and Manchester United. Academic research has shown overall spending on player salaries is the best indicator of a team’s final league position.

“We always have said, yes [we want to be] champions,” said Klopp with his club on the cusp of a long-awaited triumph. “If it will happen, it will feel really special.”
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Tony Baloney

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https://www.ft.com/content/4640e9d7-58e5-47d9-92a1-2ff3bdef51ce

Some interesting stuff in this.
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Follow John Burn Murdoch on Twitter and he goes through all the graphs etc.

https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/1274644631934906373?s=19

Maroon Manc

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Klopps done some job, funny how things worked out with the sale of Coutinho.

He should be backed in the transfer market but I don't suspect he will.

Dire Ear

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Class............that is all

Blowitupref

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First guy I thought of when Liverpool won the league last night.


Is the ref going to finally blow his whistle?... No, he's going to blow his nose

seafoid

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Part 1

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2020/06/26/title-30-years-making-liverpool-fell-grace-finally-rose-back/

A title 30 years in the making: Why Liverpool fell from grace... and how they finally rose back to the top again

From early failures to modernise, through painful adaption to the transfer market - Liverpool's evolution is not finished yet

ByChris Bascombe26 June 2020 • 10:09am

Estimated read time of 13 minutes

“For Liverpool to win the title on the pitch, they must first be ready to win off it.”

This quote has many Anfield authors, especially in the last two decades of prolonged waiting.

Gerard Houllier said it when observing the old barracks of the Melwood training ground at the start of the Millennium.

Rafa Benitez said it when checking the Anfield brochure which lured him from Spain, wondering how a club of such stature housed staff in an old B&B opposite the stadium, affectionately referred to as Tina’s Guest House.

John W. Henry and Tom Werner said it when they bought the club in 2010 and realised how fragile the infrastructure of less than 200 staff was.

There was the perception of Liverpool as a global, footballing powerhouse. Then there was the reality. When Fenway Sports Group took over, ‘Liverpool have been left behind’ was a slogan for the age.

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No-one anticipated 30 years of trying to catch up when, amid hearty appreciation rather than raucous applause, Alan Hansen lifted the club’s 18th league title in May, 1990.

Liverpool did not bother with a parade. No need to run for the bus when surely there will be another along shortly, this being the club’s 10th presentation in 15 seasons. 

“We only did the parades for cups back then,” recalled John Barnes, Football Writers Association Player of the Year in the last title-winning campaign of 1990.

“It was not complacency. It was more a case of 'that is expected'. Maybe not that we would always win the league, but that we would always be up there with a chance. It reached a stage where we did not over-celebrate or over-hype league wins.”

Number 19 seemed close a year later. Liverpool’s defence began with eight straight wins. They did not lose a league game until December.

In January 1991, manager Kenny Dalglish signed 17-year-old Jamie Redknapp from Bournemouth, Jimmy Carter from Millwall for £800,000 and David Speedie from Coventry City for £675,000. A month later, top of the league and still in the FA Cup, Dalglish quit.

Liverpool win Premier League - live fan reaction

Kenny Dalglish at the press conference where he announced he was quitting as Liverpool manager CREDIT: PA

When assessing Liverpool’s crusade, all roads tend to lead to this cataclysmic event, even though Dalglish’s resignation was initially considered a tremor rather than an earthquake within a title-hoarding empire.

“When Bob Paisley left, what happened? Liverpool still won the league. After Paisley? Joe Fagan won three trophies in a season. After Fagan? Liverpool won the double under Kenny,” said Barnes.

“That was Liverpool. Time moves on, managers leave, players come and go. The club goes on.”

Record goalscorer Ian Rush had seen it all before.

“It was a case of everyone saying, ‘These things happen in football. Get on with it’,” he recalled. 

“The idea was to try to keep everything the same. Try not to make such a big thing of it. Obviously when you look back now, it was massive.”

The timing made it so momentous. The club’s hopes for another seamless transition faltered, unable to withstand the fusion of English football’s old and new world. Liverpool needed a new spiritual leader with the game on the cusp of revolution. The story at Anfield since 1990 is of a club’s hunt for figureheads deferential to and inspired by a glorious past with the capacity and empowerment to reboot it.

It was Hillsborough, 20 months prior to Dalglish’s exit, which truly changed everything. Its scars were social, emotional, political, psychological, legal, cultural and financial.

Dalglish has spoken about his post-traumatic stress, the unimaginable burden compelling him to be a bereavement counsellor for 96 families and a city. Critically, Hansen immediately followed his friend out of the club.  

Hillsborough changed everything for Kenny Dalglish CREDIT: PA

In January 1990, Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the disaster cited squalid stadium conditions and recommended radical restructure. England’s ‘big five’ led the Premier League breakaway as Rupert Murdoch merged his fledgling Sky TV network with British Satellite Broadcasting, and Gazza’s tears at Italia ‘90 signalled the beginning of football’s economic boom.  

What was habitually successful in 1990 swiftly looked archaic, and while Liverpool were well-placed to benefit from increased broadcast revenues and globalisation, there was a quaintness at the heart of an organisation run by a chairman Noel White, and then David Moores, astutely guided by chief executive Peter Robinson.

Liverpool knew they had to move with the times, but their winning formula gave cause for hesitancy and in some instances resistance to materialistic change. They had to tiptoe through a commercial minefield as Manchester United - assisted by the geographical location of their stadium which made expansion easier - drove a tank through it. United’s rampant profiteering was scorned by some on Merseyside, while board members understood the consequences of ‘that lot down the East Lancs road getting their act together’. 

No-one saw the role reversal coming when on September 1, 1992, two weeks after the first Premier League games, Liverpool opened their Centenary Stand. They finished the inaugural season top of the league. Of attendances, that is.  At that stage, Liverpool accommodated 2,000 more fans than Old Trafford.

But examples of philosophical tensions were frequent. Take the mistrust Dalglish’s immediate successor, Graeme Souness, encountered when the famed but generally unused Anfield boot room was turned into a press area. Some shareholders and fans accused Souness of trampling on sacred ground.

Even truly radical decisions had to be sold to fans as having the most tenuous link to boot-room values.

Graeme Souness encountered mistrust when he replaced Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

In 1998, it was not palatable enough that Houllier helped mastermind France’s World Cup win. Reassurance was gleaned when it was revealed he stood on The Kop in the 1970s, his appointment sanctioned as part of a brief joint-manager experiment alongside Roy Evans.

It is worth noting the first US-based 'takeover' at Anfield was not by Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr in 2007, but in 1995 when the golden arch of a McDonald’s restaurant decorated The Kop. 

A savvy partnership? Back then it met some resistance from those seeing shameless marketeering. The question ‘What would Shankly think?’ can lead to uncomfortable answers.

When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, Kop flags mocked their sell-out, seeing money-inspired success as contaminated and less worthy. At the same time, Anfield board members were seeking similar investment from Thailand and Dubai, acutely aware any leak of their whereabouts would cause consternation at home.

As FSG have come to understand, The Kop has an uneasy relationship with the Premier League’s unapologetic capitalism. The current owners’ most serious recent missteps were on ticket pricing, brand ‘protection’ and furloughing staff.

Keeping one foot in the past while the other strides into the 21st century requires dexterity

Changing times

In the early 90s, Liverpool’s immediate struggles were in adapting to the changing transfer system and players empowered by bigger contracts.

“The introduction of the Premier League had a lot to do with it,” says Barnes.

“Previously, the team grew organically rather than buying players to bring success. The idea of players joining young like Ronnie Whelan, Ian Rush, Steve Nicol and easing into a successful side after a few years were over. Players started moving clubs for big transfer fees more often.

“When I joined in the summer of 1987 with John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton, that was a rarity to have so many signing at once. Clubs did not really do that. You had the same core of the team for 10 years, with one or two coming in every so often. Once the Premier League started, there was no consistency.”

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Ex-captain Souness seemed a natural choice to give old values a fresh perspective. 

“He tried to change things, but too quickly. He had been to Italy, seen what was happening and his ideas were right,” said Rush.

“There were simple things – making sure everyone wore their own flip flops going to the showers to avoid infections. He made us all go for regular dental check-ups to avoid infections, too; just small details which others clubs introduced years later but at that time made people wonder why he was changing everything.

“There was a pre-season where we had Ronnie Moran doing it as it was since Shankly’s time, and Graeme respected him so much he did not want to tell him not to go through the same routines so he introduced his own conditioning work alongside it. For the players it was like two pre-seasons and we had lots of injuries.”

Souness won the FA Cup in 1992, but league form deteriorated after hasty sales and poor signings. Liverpool were big spenders, paying a combined £5.1 million to Derby County for Dean Saunders and Mark Wright, making them English football’s most expensive footballer and defender.

David James, Nigel Clough, Julian Dicks, Paul Stewart and Neil Ruddock followed and compared unfavourably with Manchester United’s roll-call of clever purchases for similar or smaller fees.

Souness turning down Eric Cantona in November 1991 might be the defining transfer moment of the last 30 years in English football.

“We did spend a lot of money at that time and under Roy Evans,” says Rush.

“The players coming in realised quickly the standards were so high at Liverpool. When results were not good at Liverpool the fans let you know. That is a different level to deal with.

“Some players did not realise the mental toughness you need to play for Liverpool as much as the skill. If you had players coming from Derby or Nottingham Forest they were big fish in a little pond. Liverpool was a different level of pressure. It tested everything in you.”

Souness’ grave miscalculation about the strength of feeling against The Sunnewspaper’s Hillsborough coverage also cost him support when he ill-advisedly gave an exclusive interview on the third anniversary of the disaster. To this day he seeks forgiveness.

After Souness, Liverpool again sought sanctuary in its past. Evans took over in 1994 and was dubbed ‘the last of the boot-room boys’. 

A thrilling pass-and-move side playing 3-5-2, Liverpool were exciting but flaky. By then, Manchester United were dominant and Blackburn Rovers the country’s big spenders under a rejuvenated Dalglish. 

Kenny Dalglish with the Premier League trophy as Blackburn manager CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

“It was around 1995-96 I started to see us as a top-four challenger, a side that might finish third, rather than one that would win the league,” said Barnes.

“Until then, I still went into every season thinking we could win it.”

Toe-to-toe with United until the final month of the 1996-97 season, Evans’ most sustained title bid ended with goalkeeper David James flapping at Manchester United corners. 

For Evans, the ‘Spice Boys’ tag remains an albatross, implying his young, Armani-suited squad needed maturity and discipline. 

Robbie Fowler (left), Steve McManaman (centre) and Jamie Redknapp (right) were part of Liverpool's 'Spice Boys' CREDIT: JASON BUCKNER

Like Souness, he could not blame financial imbalance. Liverpool paid a record £8.5 million for Stan Collymore in the summer of 1995. Phil Babb was the Premier League’s most expensive defender. 

Evans’ positive legacy was a golden academy era, ex-winger Steve Heighway nurturing what should have been Anfield’s title-collecting rivals to United’s ‘Class of ’92’.

Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher broke through before 1998. Steven Gerrard would have debuted under Evans but for injuries as a teenager. 

The Premier League was now a cosmopolitan, richer world and chairman Moores was persuaded Liverpool had to learn from Arsenal’s success under Arsene Wenger. 

Houllier was the France FA’s Technical Director so it was a coup for Liverpool to get him, but there was as much scepticism as excitement, some ex-players vocal in their criticism and the chairman wary of accusation he was compromising the club’s identity. 

“We don’t want to go completely foreign,” said Moores.

Phil Thompson was instated as assistant manager to keep the Shankly bloodline intact. 

Phil Thompson (right) was appointed Gerard Houllier's assistant to keep the Shankly bloodline intact CREDIT: REUTERS

Rick Parry, a founder member of the Premier League who took over as Liverpool chief executive a year after Houllier’s appointment in 1999, dealt with the idiosyncratic challenges. Liverpool had lost their position at the top, occupied an ageing stadium and needed to convince a cynical fanbase that although the Shankly maxim ‘first is first, second is nothing’ was true in spirit, second or third was an invaluable first step as the European Cup morphed into the profitable Champions League.

“Across the 90s the external environment was rapidly changing – the Premier League, increased revenues, Bosman, the revamped Champions League,” said Parry, speaking to Telegraph Sport before his recent appointment as EFL chairman. 

“Uefa reformatted the Champions League creating more games and more money to the participating clubs. Before 2000 we were never in it in its new guise. In the new format you had to be in it and stay in it or there was a genuine fear you would get left behind. 

“In 1999 we sold 9.9 per cent of the club’s shares to Granada Media to improve the team straight away to try to get into the top three, as it was when qualifying for the Champions League then. That revenue was needed to re-invest in the team and stay in it. That plan worked. Aside from one blip, between 2000 until 2009 we were always in the Champions League, including winning it and regularly making the latter stages under Rafa Benitez.”

Liverpool reasserted their status, particularly in Europe.

Under Houllier, diets were stricter, training methods altered and medical and physiotherapy departments revamped. Houllier successfully lobbied for a new training facility, made discipline a theme and led the club away from dogmatic notions of the ‘Liverpool Way’ to impose a pragmatic style. He used the peaking Gerrard, Owen and Carragher to mould a physically tougher, strategic Liverpool. 

Jamie Carragher (left), Steven Gerrard (centre) and Michael Owen (right) peaked together at Liverpool CREDIT: REUTERS

“When I came it was a shock to the culture,” Houllier said.

“We had to begin the process of convincing people. I never saw it as a revolution. We had to move gradually.”

Between 1999-2002, Houllier bought well and won trophies. Sami Hyypia, Didi Hamann and Gary McAllister helped inspire a cup treble to Anfield in 2001 and secure Champions League qualification for the first time. 

Then in 2002, Houllier underwent life-saving heart surgery mid-season, returning in time to lead Liverpool to second behind Arsenal.

“One more step,” the club thought, heading into a critical summer transfer window.

World Cup star El Hadji Diouf was signed instead of on-loan Nicolas Anelka, and Liverpool were priced out of a move for Blackburn’s Damien Duff. 

“After my illness I was not sharp, and when you are not sharp you do not make the right decisions and there were a few I took which were wrong,” Houllier admitted.

Parry cites the Duff deal among those he most laments.

“With Duff we were told by Blackburn he is not for sale. Maybe if we had overbid in 2002 and gone to £15 million they would have softened. The fact is he signed a contract with an £18m buy-out and Roman Abramovich came in a year later and paid it. We were not going to pay that,” recalled Parry.

“Generally, I must say hindsight is nonsense in football. We would all be champions in hindsight because everyone can go back to a game and pick a different team.

“It is easy to be wise and say, ‘if we had done this it would have been different’, but there is no guarantee. If we had bought Damien Duff and, later on, Dani Alves, would we have won league titles? Who knows.

“You can't ignore the massive factor of Sir Alex Ferguson by then. These things are cyclical. Manchester United have all the resources – generating commercial revenue – so why have they not won the title since? Because Sir Alex is not in charge. He was an extraordinary phenomenon, the ultimate winner. He had an ability to rebuild winning teams in a way that may never be repeated. He did it at least twice.

“The combination with him and United’s commercial success was formidable.”

False dawn

One of Houllier’s chastening defeats came against Valencia in the 2002-03 Champions League.

Benitez was Valencia’s manager and Liverpool acted after his representatives said he was looking for a new challenge, convinced he could shock Chelsea and Manchester United on a smaller budget like his La Liga champions had Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Inspired by Gerrard’s captaincy, Benitez defied expectations by winning the Champions League in his first season. The FA Cup was added after another heroic Gerrard cup final performance in 2006.

Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez lift the champions league trophy in Istanbul CREDIT: AFP

Despite instant success, Benitez’s doubts about the club’s capacity to catch the Premier League leaders intensified. Liverpool needed more investment than he anticipated. 

Enter Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.

“What ultimately led David (Moores) to sell was his wariness of what happened to Leeds United,” explained Parry.

“They overstretched themselves and could not turn it around when they had the blip.

“We were told we could borrow money but repayment demanded three years successive Champions League qualification, or one year out in five to be viable.

“David’s question was always, 'What if we slip down the table? How do we get back?’ That was a risk he could not take. There are no certainties in football. A new stadium needed deeper pockets.”

Hicks and Gillett made extravagant promises to secure a deal. They said there would be another level of spending, and looked good for their word with Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres among the first additions in a considerable spree in 2007. Then they received planning permission for a futuristic arena on Stanley Park. 

The reign of George Gillett (left) and Tom Hicks (right) was a disaster CREDIT: PA

Benitez and his assistant, Pako Ayestaran, were unconvinced, publicly hinting appearances were deceptive.

Benitez demanded more transfer cash after Liverpool’s 2007 Champions League final defeat to AC Milan and flickering flames of discontent exploded into a three-year wildfire. 

Ayestaran left shortly after with a warning.

“We have to change the culture surrounding Liverpool," he said

“I'm not sure if Liverpool is ready to accept change.”

Reflecting on those remarks 13 years on, Ayestaran explained:  “Liverpool had been successful in the past but many times past strategies don’t work in new periods.

“There really was a Liverpool culture set into the club which had to evolve.

“Players and staff were professional enough but there was a need to intensify the day-to-day details and processes. At that time there were already clubs, not only Manchester United, but Chelsea and Arsenal that could be the first option for many players before Liverpool. The recruitment had to answer to the new era.”

The global economic crisis in 2008 exposed the owners’ deception. Contrary to statements upon buying the club, Liverpool’s financial security was in the hands of high-risk, short-term loans.

Benitez momentarily doused flames with the 2009 title bid.

“There were fine margins,” says Parry.

“We had a great team and I still struggle to believe we did not make it. It was depth that was the issue then. Our first XI was phenomenal but we ended with two defeats and a ridiculous number of draws – 11.

Premier League table 2008/09 (Top Six)

English Barclays Premier League

TeamPPts1Man Utd38902Liverpool38863Chelsea38834Arsenal38725Everton38636Aston Villa3862

“We had Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Javier Mascherano - world-class players. On our day we could beat anyone. That was the case in the Champions League. There was a golden spell in 2009, beating United and Real Madrid and making No 1 in the Uefa rankings.”

The foundations were built on straw. Anfield’s working environment was decimated by political in-fighting, alliances forming and evaporating on a daily basis.

Parry left and in a bloody summer in 2009, so did 27 other long-serving staff, including youth director Heighway. 

Star players like Alonso and Mascherano wanted out. Mascherano stayed one more year, Alonso was sold and the team never recovered.

Liverpool finished 7th in 2010 and Benitez joined Inter Milan having lost the support of the emergency board led by non-executive chairman Martin Broughton, appointed to facilitate the club sale amid weekly fan potests. 

The nadir was Roy Hodgson’s six-month reign, an emblem of rancid dysfunction as the financial noose tightened.

New era<

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Part 2

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2020/06/26/title-30-years-making-liverpool-fell-grace-finally-rose-back/

New era

It is terrifying to consider where Liverpool would be but for the boardroom coup in the autumn of 2010. The owners’ defaulted on their Royal Bank of Scotland loans and Hicks’ attempts for economic assistance ended when the online account of any Wall Street financier who shared a coffee with him was sent crashing by internet-savvy supporters mobilised into action.

The course of Anfield history shifted when John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner took control with their pledge of ‘slow and steady growth’.

Today, Liverpool is a club where perception and reality are closer aligned.

Werner pushed through stadium expansion, while FSG president Mike Gordon and Sporting Director Michael Edwards connected the executives and manager’s office.

Jurgen Klopp (centre) with Mike Gordon (right) and Michael Edwards (left) CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

There were early expensive mistakes like Damien Comolli’s ill-fated period as director of football, but Ian Ayre - ex-managing director and chief executive under FSG - said while individuals came and went, the long-term plan was non-negotiable.

“Even when criticism came, they did not waver from the plan. You can’t run Liverpool and expect to be popular,” he said.

After Brendan Rodgers showed what was possible in 2014, Jurgen Klopp’s arrival a year later was the catalyst for sustained improvement.

Since 2015 the success rate of new signings has been extraordinary, from Sadio Mane through to Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker. On-field improvements swelled finances, the club finally equipped to tap into its sporting and commercial potential.

Klopp reached 100 victories quicker than any Liverpool manager. He has not lost a league game at Anfield since 2017, his side playing a brand of front-foot football which chimes with Shankly ideals. As does the man himself with his rapport with The Kop.

Madrid 2019 was the first tangible reward. Now Liverpool are domestic, European and World champions.

There are many contributing architects of the bridge Klopp and his squad will cross; Evans, Heighway, Houllier, Benitez, Gerrard, Rodgers and Dalglish ensured the club is not re-emerging from a wasteland bereft of major honours or title bids. Yet the scale of the achievement looks greater when seeing how the right combination of owner and manager has triumphed where others toiled.

“When Kenny Dalglish left in 1990, I would never have believed it would be three, four or five years before Liverpool won the league again, never mind 30,” reflected Barnes. 

What is most thrilling for The Kop is that having agonised for so long, the club is primed and ready for more.

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