With Man United looking set to finally overtake Liverpool’s 38 year record of holding the most English titles you would naturally assume it would be all doom and gloom.
In October 2010, I, like many Liverpool fans wanted the season to be over there and then. The reds were facing relegation, especially with administration looming and a potential 9 point penalty. A manager appointed by the old regime wholly unsuited to the job of Liverpool manager. Unhappy players on the pitch. Fans staging protests inside the ground, outside the ground. Some boycotting games and merchandise and getting angry at those who continuing to attend. To top it all off, Texan courts and High courts making a mockery of the history of the club.
Yes, if you had offered me the blue pill – to wake up and for it all have been over I would have snatched your hand off.
But 2010-11 will arguably go down as one of the most defining moments in the clubs history, right up there with the arrival in 1959 of Bill Shankly which laid the foundations to transform the reds from a relatively normal community football club in to one of the most fabled sports clubs on the planet.
The arrival of the new owners was a big step forward for a heavily indebted club. But on the pitch the club were an embarrasment. Mid-table obscurity beckoned as every club in the land, including a team 3 divisions below turned Liverpool over.
In October the fans urged the new owners to replace Hodgson. They did it again in November and December. The owners held a discussion with fans on the official club TV station. But they didn’t get chance to discuss their future plans because all the talk was about the fans anger at the manager.
The national media, who had practically shoed Hodgson in to the job, mocked Liverpool fans for wanting Dalglish in. Give Hodgson time they said.
In the end, even the new owners – unfamiliar with the sport – could tell that Hodgson was woefully inadequate and after an early January defeat away at Blackburn they finally halted the rot.
Dalglish’s arrival was applauded by the fans, whilst the press smirked.
A first minute penalty and the captain being sent off in Kenny’s first game had them foaming at their keyboards. Liverpool fans could not expect any quick fix, they wrote.
Liverpool’s league form improved almost overnight. Liverpool were a two man team was the overused, and untrue, statement they used to say for the past few years. But Gerrard was on an operating table, and Torres was sitting on the bench almost 200 miles away.
Liverpool may, or may not, qualify for European football next season. Despite the endless debates, it is far better for a club with such a rich European heritage as Liverpool to be in Europe than out.
The last 4 games symbolise everything that has changed about Liverpool in the space of 16 weeks.
5-0 against Birmingham City, a side we were lucky to escape with a 0-0 against earlier this season.
3-0 against Newcastle United, a team we were convincingly beaten earlier this season.
A hard-fought and never-say-die draw against Arsenal away, after Arsenal scored in the 98th minute.
And a 5-2 victory away from home, from a team that luckily won only 1 game away in the first 9 attempts.
The reds can be proud of how they have turned it around in the second half of the season. With only Chelsea having landed more points in the Premier League, if the reds manage to carry their form on to next season then there is real hope of not only returning to the top 4, but of mounting a challenge similar to that of two seasons ago.
Set your clocks and start the countdown. The season kicks off in 100 days.