Do you remember the time when Liverpool were good?

by admin

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

July 1986. Liverpool’s Ian Rush is sold to Juventus. Player-manager Kenny Dalglish’s response? He buys John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and John Barnes to replace the out-going, Welsh goal machine. 1987 wasn’t a great year for the Reds losing their title to ‘noisy neighbours’ Everton, despite Rush remaining for a season on-loan. 1987/88 was much better and saw them regain the title with John Aldridge finishing as top goal-scorer.

There is a refreshing poignancy about the way Kenny Dalglish has gone about his business at Liverpool these past 6 months. Refreshing because on the surface it would appear that he has managed Liverpool with no fear and perhaps the naivety of a man making his first tentative steps into management. That assumption would be a mistake. He is after all one of the most highly regarded and decorated British footballers of all time, who managed Liverpool to three league tittles and two FA Cup wins. Not to mention a title with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

These days, clubs no longer look to the boot room for a new manager but abroad for a dapper continental, dressed in Armani, standing authoritative on the sideline. It is indicative of the style we have become accustomed to, specifically over the last decade or so. A little Je ne sais quoi goes along way to befuddle the fans into thinking everything is under control (unless that Je ne sais quoi is dressed in black with the demeanour of a depressed Grim Reaper, stand-up Avram Grant).

Dalglish, of course, is not naïve and has proven himself fearless attempting to turn a slump in Liverpool’s fortunes, which in truth started the moment he left the club way back in 1991. Sure there was the odd cup win, and an extraordinary night in Istanbul, but Liverpool have not won, what Shankly called their bread and butter, the top division championship since 1990.

Dalglish arrived and immediately gave the fans and the team a lift. He has got the team playing as a unit, restoring those Shankly ideals. He made two very astute, if expensive, signings in the potential of Andy Carroll and the exceptional Luis Suarez. It would seem that the good times are on their way back to Anfield. For non-Red fans who remember the 1970s and 80s this might not be good for anglo-scouse relations!

The spending has continued through the summer with another £50 million spent on new recruits. Stuart Downing and Charlie Adam offer that creative spark that Joe Cole has sadly failed to deliver. Downing in particular, despite his insistence on being completely one footed, adds much needed width to a team that has never really replaced John Barnes. Jordon Henderson is a different type of signing. Young, British, hungry, over-priced. There is a question mark over the £20 million fee but he has potential, it will be interesting to see who plays in midfield with at least six players all worthy of a place. A certain Steven Gerrard, for so long the saviour of Liverpool, may find it tough to get into the side next season.

If Liverpool are going to be serious contenders for honours this season improvements need to be made at left back and a world-class centre-half is a must. But for the most part, times are certainly looking brighter on the red side of Merseyside.

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  • ste

    Ahhh those distant days of 2009 when Liverpool were by far the best team in the land, only for the Trafford Hoofers to be given a dubious helping hand by the ‘officials’ with countless dodgy penalties and free kicks and lots and lots of jammy deflections in Fergie time!.

  • michael

    Yeah it was round about 2005 when we won the European Cup for the 5th time.

  • thecat

    “but Liverpool have not won, what Shankly called their bread and butter, the top division championship since 1991”

    Don’t you mean since 1990?

  • Givere

    Mmm, some may of missed the point.

    It is all very well talking about 2009, but Liverpool didn’t win the title. No amount of ‘Fergie time’ can change that fact. 2005 is also acknowledged.

    Apologies about the factual discrepancy.

  • Adam King

    Arsenal won the league in 1991 ;).

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