Liverpool Football Club – Liverpool FC, in full Liverpool Football Club, English professional football (soccer) club based in Liverpool. It is the most successful English team in European football tournament history, having won six European Cup/Champions League trophies. The club has also won the English top-division league title 19 times.
Liverpool Football Club, has had an incredibly rich and interesting history since its creation in 1892. It has had more than its share of tragedies as well as miracles, which is part of what has helped to create one of the most beloved and revered Football Clubs in the World, with fans clubs in over 50 countries. Anfield, Liverpool’s stadium, is also famed all over the world for its consistently high attendance and vivacious crowds.
Formation Of Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool Football Club was formed following a disagreement between the Everton Football Committee, who oversaw the city of Liverpool’s oldest professional football club, and John Houlding, who owned Anfield, the land used for games. Houlding originally wanted to name the team Everton Athletic to spite the former committee, but the English Football Association wouldn’t allow it.
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So instead, the team adopted the moniker, Liverpoool F.C, The team quickly rose through the ranks of English Football, winning the Lancashire league, then the Second division, gaining entrance to the First Division, English Football’s highest league. They won it twice in the span of 5 years, 1901 and 1906. While the league did not have the competitive nature it does now, the accomplishment was no small feat.
These crucial years would help establish Liverpool as a team to be respected, though far from the dominance they would enjoy later in their tenure.
The Shankly Era (Liverpool Football Club)
Even though they won 2 consecutive titles in 1922 and 1923, Liverpool would not see consistent success again until the introduction of Bill Shankly, a Scotsman, as manager of the team in 1959. His methods of training, player selection, and fan interaction were controversial, revolutionary, and greatly successful.
When he first arrived at Liverpool, he released 24 players from the team and created a strategy room from the club’s boot room. He emphasized a professional work ethic and the iidea of ‘running thru walls’ for you teammates, manager, and fans. The professional football league changed greatly under this new style of work ethic. Shankly was brash, honest, and spoke his mind without fear of consequence.
He would respond to letters from fans and give speeches unlike any other manager before him. Bill Shankly won 10 trophies with Liverpool including; 1 UEFA Cup, 3 First Division Titles, 1 Second Division Title, 2 FA Cups, and 3 FA Charity Shields. He retired from manager at the age of 60, after winning an FA Cup.
The Paisley Era (Liverpool Football Club)
Bob Paisley was Bill Shankly’s assistant manager when Shankly decided to retire from professional football. To Paisley’s reluctance, he was named the next head coach of Liverpool FC. It was a daunting task to fill the shoes of the club’s greatest manager, but Paisley went above and beyond all expectations set for him.
The Paisley Era was the first period of undisputed supremacy in English football for Liverpool. Paisley coached Graeme Souness and Kevin Keegan, who became some of the first English footballing celebrities. He won a trophy in every single calendar year he managed the team, totaling 20 a the end of it. He is one of only 2 men in history to manage 3 European titles, a UEFA Super cup, and a UEFA cup.
He won 6 First-Division titles in 9 years, securing the decade of dominance for Liverpool FC. He could never win a FA Cup in England during his tenure, but Liverpool fans were happy all the same. He was succeeded by Joe Fagan, whose most notable accomplishments were winning one European Cup, one First-Division title, and one League Cup.
‘King’ Kenny Dalglish era (Liverpool Football Club)
Kenny Dalglish, known to fans as ‘King Kenny’ was a phenomenon in English football for Liverpool. He was both a star player and a manager, simultaneously. He was the first person to manage a team and play in English football history. He succeeded Joe Fagan, and was tutored in managing by Bob Paisley himself.
The scottish wonder became one of Liverpool’s all-time greatest players, scoring 172 total goals for the club as a striker. As a manager, he had the joy of coaching some of the greatest players to play for Liverpool and the game of football in England. Ian Rush, John Barnes, and Steve McManaman to name a few.
Dalglish would win 10 trophies for Liverpool. It is likely that they would have won more, but Liverpool and English teams suffered from the events of the Heysel Disaster.
Heysel and Hillsborough Disasters
During Dalglish’s tenure as the manager of Liveprool, two horrific disasters occurred. The first of the two was the Heysel Disaster. It is certainly one of the dark spots in Liverpool FC’s history and certainly English football history. In 1985, at a European cup game against Juventus in Belgium, Liverpool supporters started aggressively throwing rocks at Juventus supporters, who were separated by a fence in the stadium.
The Juventus fans retaliated and began rioting. In the end, 39 total fans died and over 600 were injured. The consequences for Liverpool and English football teams were heavy, a 5-year ban for English teams from European competition, and a 6-year ban for Liverpool from European competition. Additionally, 26 Liverpool supporters were charged with manslaughter, and were extradited to serve prison sentences in Belgium.
The second disaster of the decade and certainly of Liverpool’s tenure in football was the Hillsborough Disaster. The event happened in 1989 at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium, Hillsborough. The game was played between Liverpool F.C. and Nottingham Forest F.C.
Due to poor policing, an inexperienced police chief, and overcrowding in a Liverpool part of the stadium, Police began pushing Liverpool fans into section of the stadium, where they had closed one of the entryways. The section had metal caging in the front to protect fans from stray footballs, and to protect players from pitch invaders. The fans were forced into the fencing and too many supporters were pushed into a single section.
Many supporters in the front, against the caging, were crushed to death. 96 supporters in all died, and 766 were injured because of the event. The question of who was at fault was a highly contested argument throughout England. The Sun, an English tabloid, began fallaciously accusing Liverpool fans of being drunk, or criminals, saying that they were attacking police officers and that many did not even have tickets to the event.
This resulted in a total embargo of The Sun in the city of Liverpool, actually inspiring an annual concert called “Don’t Buy the Sun.” It was not until 2013 that an English court officially decided that the lack of effective policing, and not the Liverpool fans, who were at fault for the incident.
It was actually uncovered that the police department covered up damning evidence against them and altered the testimony of civilian witnesses and policemen, whom admitted to any police wrongdoing. The conspiracy of cover-ups and supporter blaming went all the way to Margaret Thatcher, who refused to side against the police.
The Premier League
The English Premier League, which was the new moniker for First-Division Football after it’s rebranding in 1992, has presented some difficulty to Liverpool FC. Liverpool have yet to win a title since the Premier League, also known as the EPL.
The rise of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United had created a very turbulent time for clubs with title ambitions, like Liverpool FC. The new era in English Football saw Liverpool, among many other clubs, hiring their first non-British managers and a soaring influx of foreign players.
The money that came from new TV deals, league sponsorship from Carling Brewing, and Barclays Banking Company created a culture of dramatic salary increases for players and unrealistic expectations for managers. LFC have had 9 managers in the 24 years since the Premier League’s inception. Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley coached for a combined total of 24 years, to offer some perspective.
The Premier League Era has ushered into Liverpool some of the greatest footballing names in the world. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and Xabi Alonso are some of biggest players to be considered ‘Superstars,’ who have played in a Liverpool jersey. Liverpool have averaged a 4th place finish in the league over the last 24 years.
Even with a failure to win a Premier League title in this period of time, Liverpool have won 12 trophies, including the coveted UEFA Champion’s League. The most decorated and celebrated manager in this period was Rafael Benitez Maudez, referred to commonly as Rafa Benitez.
He won a total of 4 trophies during his managerial career at Liverpool FC, including 2 of the most discussed and celebrated victories in Cup Final History; The 2006 FA Cup Final and the infamous ‘Miracle in Istanbul.’
The Miracle in Istanbul (Liverpool Football Club)
Liverpool faced an uphill battle to reach the final of the 2004-2005 UEFA Champion’s League. They faced elimination from group play if not for a world-class, game from Steven Gerrard against Olympiakos. Liverpool dragged themselves up through sheer hard work, generally being out-skilled by most teams.
The semi-final against English rivals Chelsea was also a highly contentious game, due to several questionable decisions by the referees in charge. in the first leg of the semi-final, a referee failed to give a penalty for a clear handball, resulting in a 0-0 tie. In the second round, the referee gave what is known as the ‘ghost goal’ of Luis Garcia.
Garcia’s shot did not completely cross the goal line, but the referee gave the goal anyway, advancing Liverpool to a difficult final against the powerhouse AC Milan. When Liverpool started the final game in Istanbul, Turkey, they were outclassed and outmatched by their Italian opponents. For the first 45 minutes, AC Milan dominated the play, scoring 3 goals, one goal from Paolo Maldini and two goals from Hernan Crespo.
They also allowed Liverpool no goals in the first half, creating an incredible challenge for Liverpool to surmount. However, following the start of the second half, Liverpool’s captain Steven Gerrard scored a stunning headed goal to push momentum back in favor of the Merseysiders (a term for people from Liverpool). Closely following Liverpool’s initial goal, Vladimir Smicer smashed in a long-distance shot to put Liverpool only a goal behind.
With Liverpool now full of confidence, Gerrard charged triumphantly into the AC Milan box, only to be fouled, giving LFC a penalty and opportunity to tie the game. Xabi Alonso, LFC’s foremost penalty taker stepped up and had his initial shot blocked, only to follow up with a tidy finish, bringing the two sides level at 3-3. In the span of only 6 minutes, Liverpool’s fortunes were changed.
The rest of the match was filled with anxiety, because AC Milan were on the attack. Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek made several incredible saves, including a double against the world-class striker, Andriy Shevchenko.
After full-time came and went without any additional goals, the match moved on to a penalty shoot-out. AC Milan’s Serginho missed his first penalty wildly while LFC’s Dietmar Hamann. Liverpool’s Jerzey Dudek made a fantastic diving save against Italian football legend, Andrea Pirlo.
Liverpool failed to convert on their third penalty, when John Arne Riise had his shot saved by AC Milan’s Brazilian goalkeeper, Dida, dove to reject Riise’s shot. However, Liverpool’s Vladimir Smicer would make his penalty after AC Milan’s Kaka made his. This meant that all of the pressure was on Milan’s superstar Shevchenko, who had several shots blocked by Dudek earlier in the game.
Shevchenko, clearly nervous, tried to put a slow chipped shot down the middle. Though Dudek dove away, he still managed to save the shot and secure the most impressive comeback in UEFA Champion’s League history. The game and the events leading up to it would inspire films, such as “One Night in Istanbul” and documentaries to be based upon it.
Present and Stadium Expansion
The years following Liverpool’s famed Champion’s league victory were not as fortuitous. In 2007, Liverpool trampled across every opponent on their way to the another Champion’s league final, only to have AC Milan take revenge for their defeat in 2005. Liverpool, like many English teams, suffered the problem of having their biggest stars leave for ‘bigger clubs’ like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or Barcelona.
Benitez was subsequently fired in 2010, following several disappointing seasons. This resulted in the very short and disastrous hiring of Roy Hodgson as Liverpool manager. His short time in charge saw the worst 6 months of results for Liverpool since 1998. After his firing, Kenny Dalglish was hired again, in an attempt to ignite passion in the team and fan base.
He was given a large sum of money to work with and spent approximately £115m on new players, while selling roughly £75m of Liverpool players. The resulting season and a half saw mixed results. Despite winning Liverpool its first Football League cup in some time, the team’s Premier League fortunes were not as abundant.
He was first shortly after the season and the young Northern Irishman, Brendan Rodgers, was hired as Liverpool FC manager, following an impressive spell with Swansea FC. Rodger’s time saw Liverpool hit its highest peak since Benitez’s tenure in the Premier League. His squad played a more passing style of football than the English teams were accustomed to.
His team featured controversial star player, Luis Suarez, who is now known not only for biting 3 players, but also for his controversial world cup handball. Suarez, despite his shortcomings, set a Premier League record for the most goals in a 38 game season, without taking a penalty (31).
Suarez, combined with Daniel Sturridge, became known colloquially as SAS or S&S, due to their impressive goalscoring record in the Premier League, boasting 52 goals between them. The team infamously lost their 1st place position during their last 3 games, against Chelsea FC and Crystal Palace. Liverpool FC finished 2nd and Luis Suarez would later be transferred to Barcelona for an impressive £75m.
The following season saw an influx of injuries and disappointing results, both in the Champion’s League and the Premier League. Liverpool wunderkind Raheem Sterling controversially left the club for English rivals Manchester City, at the age of 21 years old and for a fee of £49m.
Club legends Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard retired and left for American team L.A. Galaxy, respectively. The loss of key players and the injuries to so many key players, along with disappointing results, contributed to Brendan Rodgers losing his job in the 2015-2016 season, on the 4th of October, 2015.
Rodgers decline left a void in the club, only to be quickly filled by the heavily coveted German manager, Jürgen Klopp. Klopp had great success at German football clubs, Mainz 05 and BVB Borussia Dortmund.
His style of play has been characterized as “heavy metal football.” So far he has broken the mould of traditional English managers by celebrating with his players after goals, or being brutally honest or cursing during interviews. His record has been impressive, but his tenure has only begun.
Liverpool FC, from 2007 to 2010 faced a struggle with their American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gilett. The two business tycoons had no idea how to run the team’s finances and as a result, sunk Liverpool FC into tremendous debt. The two Americans filed a lawsuit after Liverpool’s directors tried to force the English Football Association to mandate a sale of the club to different ownership.
After losing the lawsuit, Liverpool was sold to another American financial group, but one with sports experience. Boston Redsocks owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG), formerly New England Sports Ventures, purchased Liverpool FC for £300m under the direction of billionaire John W. Henry. Since the purchase of the team, FSG have raised its value to, according to Forbes estimates, nearly £900m.
They have recorded a profit for the first time in years, and are very steadily chipping away at the debt that Hicks and Gilette had built up. After a long and arduous process of purchasing homes in the stadiums neighborhood, they are now expanding Anfield stadium, adding an additional 9,000 seats, including sponsor/private viewing boxes.
The expansion is expected to be finished during the 2016/17 season and to add significant equity to Liverpool’s financial portfolio.
A return to the top Of Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool was close to win Premier League as runners up in 2002, 2014 and 2019. But in 2020 everything fall into place, Liverpool led by German coach Jürgen Klopp pulled away from the competition and the sky turned red when the league was finally decided, after being interrupted for a period due to the coronavirus outbreak.
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