At The End of the Storm: The story of Liverpool's greatest ever league campaign

The first post-war Football League campaign of 1946/47 was the longest and most tumultuous ever known. For Liverpool FC, it was the ultimate triumph against adversity; a First Division championship won in a style that was to set a precedent for future Anfield success....

End of Season Blog Post - Part Two

2009/2010 - An Erratic Season

Part Two of this blog post was going to be about off field activities, such as Albert Reira's public blast at Rafa, the anti-Rafa and anti-LFC agenda that there seems to be in the media and indeed amongst our own fan base. Worse still, the ever increasing debt brought to the club by those two American "Businessmen".

However, I remembered that the whole point of my end of season blog was to remember the good times we had in the season and not continue to be negative like too many Liverpool fans have been - and continue to be.

Yes, the club is in a bad state at the moment. Yes it is very likely that things will get worse before they get better and we may have to come to terms with the fact that we may not attract any big names to the club - and even if any of them were attracted, how on earth we might be able to fund that transfer would be frankly miraculous given our current financial plight. No we don't have an amazing array of star quality sitting on the bench to cover for when Torres, Gerrard and other 1st team regulars are injured. No we don't have the endless pit of money that many of our rivals appear to have. But what we do have is hope, passion, pride and dignity, of which, the latter I intend to retain but not allowing myself to be drawn into a tirade of anti Hicks and Gillett abuse which would no doubt ensue if I were to begin writing about the dark times they have brought our club.

I started Part One by saying I had grown tired of all the negativity surrounding the club and that holds true into Part Two, so this should be light reading but as ever, please feel free to comment at the end.

From The Sublime...

Whilst I chose the 2-0 win over United as the number 1 in my top 5 "Good" things, in my opinion, our best performance this season was the 4-1 win at Anfield against Benfica. There may be many that disagree with me on this but as this was my first European Night at Anfield it goes straight to the top of my list as the best overall display from the team.

Trailing 2-1 from the away leg, after Daniel Agger had given us the lead on 9 minutes, and coming off the back of a frustrating draw with Birmingham in the Premier League, we needed to step up a gear and put on a performance on our own turf in order to progress to the Europa League Semi-Finals.

The atmosphere inside Anfield was amazing and the 12th man were in fine voice once again to help lift the players. The first 25 minutes were nervy as we needed to score but just couldn't find a breakthrough. However, on 28 minutes there was a moment of controversy when Steven Gerrard crossed the ball for Dirk Kuyt to head in. It seemed it had been ruled out for offside only for the referee to change the decision and the goal stood. We were ahead on the night and from that moment we were ahead in the tie by virtue of the away goal.

6 minutes later a brilliant moment in football saw Gerrard play a perfect pass through for an on running (wait for it) Lucas Leiva!! who expertly rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home.

A goal not dissimilar to what we are used to seeing from Fernando Torres who got himself on the score sheet twice that night with a couple of well executed goals.

After Torres got his 1st of the night (Liverpool's 3rd) Benfica gave us a bit of a scare as Cardozo managed to get their own away goal via a skidding free kick which found it's way in to the net. This clearly lifted the travelling team as well as their fans and the Liverpool faithful, whilst still believing, had a slightly nervous final 20 minutes to endure.

Thankfully, Fernando Torres settled any nerves with eight minutes remaining as he broke into the area and superbly lifted the ball over the out-rushing goalkeeper and the ball bounced neatly into the open net. The roof at Anfield was literally lifted off by the noise created by the crowd as the ball bounced in.

That moment right there on 82 minutes as the ball was bouncing over the line for the 4th goal, I am sure I was not alone in thinking we could go on to win this competition because we are just immense at Anfield. That was an amazing match, full of grit and determination, excellent passing and moving, a goal for Lucas, 2 more for the remarkable Torres and another amazing European victory at Anfield.

...To the Ridiculous

'Beach Ball' 1 - 0 LFC

I was disappointed at the result of this game, not because of the way Darren Bent's shot was deflected off the beach ball but the fact that the ball hit the net in the 5th minute and there was still 85 minutes for us to score ourselves which we couldn't do.

I have called this "ridiculous" because of the factors involved in the result.

I just found myself asking questions;

Why did that young Liverpool supporter bat the beach ball on to the pitch?
Why didn't a steward stop him?

The beach ball, aided by the breeze, rolled into the 18 yard box where Pepe Reina put it in the goal. However, another breeze sent the ball rolling back out into the penalty area.

Why didn't Pepe get rid of the ball properly in the first place?
Why didn't the referee stop the game so that the beach ball could be removed from the pitch?

The laws of the game stipulate that if there is an object that interferes with play that the game should be halted so that the object can be removed.

So why did the referee allow the goal to stand?

All questions I find can generally be answered in the same way... "I don't know, it's just ridiculous!"

It could have been so different

I had to write this bit just to give me some kind of 'closure'! It is basically all about some games that frustrated us and ultimately tripped us up this season.

In Part 1 I made the fact that we just never got going this season top of my "Bad" list. In addition to that post I felt I needed to highlight the frustrating results that for the sake of just 1 goal our fortunes this season might have been so different.

Conceding in injury time away to Stoke after Sotorios Kyrgiakos had got his first goal for Liverpool was particularly annoying. A scrappy effort bundled over the line, but nevertheless a goal on 57 minutes after Sorenson couldn't keep hold of the ball, saw us take a deserved lead as we had previously been denied a penalty when Higginbotham brought down Lucas Leiva.

It was a strange looking line up from Liverpool who, once again were without Torres and Gerrard were up against a solid and resolute Stoke side who were playing very well at home. In a game which saw Stoke have 10 corners to our 0 it came as mighty relief when Kyrgiakos was in the right place to bundle home. We managed to hold out for the remainder of the game until right at the death when Stoke earned themselves a corner and from the resulting cross Higginbotham headed back across goal to an unmarked Huth who made it 1-1. In the dying seconds Dirk Kuyt had an excellent opportunity to grab a winner but saw his diving header crash against the post.

For me, ultimate frustration is when we just cannot score a goal. Unfortunately this happened on a number of occasions this season but there were 3 games where without doubt should have provided us with 3 points. These were Wolves Away, Fulham at Home and Hull Away. All 3 games ended 0-0!

Our lack of firepower in the absence of Fernando Torres was a major concern to us and these games just epitomised this predicament. We could argue that we had plenty of goal scoring possibilities in N'Gog, Babel and Kuyt but whilst they all found the net on a few occasions for us this season it seemed that we just couldn't rely on them as we would have liked.

And so these 3 games added to the Stoke game meant that we dropped 8 very winnable points. Those 8 points would have put us on 71 points and based on the final league positions would have meant we could have finished in 4th and saved ourselves a great deal of heartache and frustration as well as earning the club the revenue from the Champions League that we so badly craved.

Most Improved Player of the Year

I chose not to go down the "player ratings" route with my post season blog but I felt I wanted to acknowledge who I thought showed they had improved the most from last season and also throughout this season. In my opinion, Pepe Reina has been our Player of the Season although even the injury hampered Torres with his excellent goals per game ratio still performed impeccably in the games he played.

However, when it comes to the Most Improved player I believe there is only one contender for the award and in my opinion this would be Lucas Leiva.

Liverpool fans voted the 23 year old Brazilian as their Young Player of the Season and given the amount of stick he received last season (and this season to some extent) this goes to show how far he has come. He worked very hard in the close season to bulk up a little, be stronger in tackles and more confident going forward. It certainly paid off for him and it's great news for Liverpool because I believe there is still more to come from him.

Lucas missed only 3 Premier League games this campaign which is a great indictment of how much of central role he has played in the team. He forged a pretty strong partnership in the middle of the field alongside Javier Mascherano allowing Steven Gerrard to push on more.

The young Brazilians best game in my opinion was the 4-1 Europa League victory at home against Benfica. A solid, dependable and confident performance wrapped up with his superbly taken goal gave Lucas a well deserved Man of the Match award.

It was no more than he deserved. Several players stood out that night but arguably his range of passing, athleticism, desire and creativity, this was his finest display in a Liverpool shirt.

I hold my hands up and admit that I was not one of his biggest fans last term and Lucas was castigated by a certain section of impatient and frustrated supporters, but I think it shows just what an immense turnaround it has been when you hear the Kop chanting his name on a number of occasions.

He might not be the most skilful player ever to play for Liverpool but, he's getting better, a point proved by the poise he showed when scoring the second goal on Thursday evening, and there is more to come.

Congratulations on a very good season Lucas Leiva, You Will Never Walk Alone.

The Final Word

To complete my end of season review I want to acknowledge one of the most important factors of Liverpool Football Club. It isn't a player, it is not the manager, it's not a member of the backroom staff. The most consistent performer of the season, displaying constant passion is of course, the 12th Man.

Time and time again the passion, noise, and knowledge shown on match days really does lift the players. Standing in the crowd at Anfield you almost feel invincible during a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone because every person in that crowd, singing at the top of their voice, holding their scarves aloft, believe in and love the club.

The noise generated when singing You'll Never Walk Alone is spine tingling and reverberates in your chest cavity. It makes you feel that no matter which opponent stands before you on that day you can and will defeat them.

Many opponents have come to Anfield and been left in awe at the passion shown by the 12th man. Quite simply we have the best fans in the World.

I feel proud to be a Liverpool supporter, through good times and bad there is one thing I know for definite... I will Never Walk Alone.


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About Me

I'm a 30-something husband and father of 2 who has recently decided to have a go at blogging. I love watching pretty much any sport but my passion is football and in particular Liverpool F.C. If you're here then thanks for stopping by and I hope you find my words interesting and thought provoking. Any comments, feedback and constructive criticism is welcome.