Tag Archives: Liverpool FC

Iconic Moments: Teddy’s Sky moment (August 1992)

It was a “Whole New Ball Game” in 1992 when the Premier League was born in this country and it was the same for where to watch it. BSkyB had swooped to take the live rights for the new division with 60 live games per season for the first five years of the new era in English football. Games would be shown live on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. Super Sunday and Monday Night Football were therefore born.

The first match televised live was a battle between two former European champions who were experiencing tougher times of late in Nottingham Forest and Liverpool FC. The first goal live on Sky Sports was scored by Teddy Sheringham.

Just over 20 minutes had been played when Forest broke down the visitors’ barrier. Scot Gemmill played the ball out wide to Sheringham. He had options but elected to cut inside and go for goal himself. He smashed his strike past David James and into the net. It was a piece of television history for sport in this country.

Nottingham Forest won the game 1-0 but would finish bottom of the first Premier League table and the late, great Brian Clough retired at the end of the season as manager. Sheringham wouldn’t stay much longer in the Midlands. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur before the month was out and ended up as the winner of the 1992-1993 Golden Boot. What a start for one of the league’s most precise finishers!

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Shock Results: Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool FC (May 2015)

Goalscorers: Mame Biram Diouf 22, 26, Jonathan Walters 30, Charlie Adam 41, Steven N’Zonzi 45, Steven Gerrard 70, Peter Crouch 86

Teams:

Stoke City: Asmir Begovic, Geoff Cameron, Marc Muniesa (Marc Wilson 71), Ryan Shawcross, Erik Pieters, Glenn Whelan, Steven N’Zonzi, Charlie Adam, Jonathan Walters (Peter Odemwingie 67), Mame Biram Diouf, Marko Arnautovic (Peter Crouch 81)

Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Emre Can (Kolo Toure 45), Alberto Moreno (Jordon Ibe 45), Lucas, Joe Allen (Rickie Lambert 69), Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 38,216

The final day of the 2014-2015 season is a day Stoke City fans will never forget and a day that goes down as Liverpool FC’s darkest in Premier League history. It was one of those scorelines where you have to read it again and check it wasn’t a misprint.

It was meant to be a fond farewell for Liverpool FC skipper Steven Gerrard. Gerrard had announced five months earlier that he was going to leave Merseyside and finish his career in the United States with LA Galaxy. His 710th and final appearance for his boyhood club is one he will want to erase from his memory.

Manager Brendan Rodgers was already under pressure after an underwhelming campaign that had seen the Reds slip from a title near-miss in 2013-2014 to a distant fifth place coming into the match. The club were also caught up in a contract wrangling mess with young starlet Raheem Sterling, who had submitted a transfer request earlier in the week. Rodgers wanted to show who was boss. Sterling sat all afternoon on the bench as an unused substitute. He would never play for the club again.

However, after a pitiful first 45 minutes, Rodgers probably wanted a hole to open up inside the Britannia Stadium and for him to jump into it. Liverpool caved in spectacularly and became the first side to trail by five goals at half-time in a Premier League game since Burnley went into the dressing room 5-0 down against Manchester City in April 2010.

Mame Biram Diouf opened the scoring on 22 minutes. He was quickest to react after Charlie Adam’s shot had been parried by Simon Mignolet. Four minutes later, he was given lots of space and tried his luck – successfully to put Stoke in a commanding position. Mark Hughes’ side had the game all but wrapped up by the half-hour mark. Lax defending from emergency centre-back Emre Can allowed Jonathan Walters to pounce and score his first goal since a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers at the end of January. Defeat for Liverpool was turning into annihilation. Adam made it 4-0; cashing in on sloppy play from Lucas to smash the ball past Mignolet from 20-yards out. Just before half-time, Steven N’Zonzi scored his fourth goal of the season with a thumping drive that no goalkeeper would have saved. Stoke supporters were on cloud nine.

Rodgers sent Can and the hapless Alberto Moreno packing at half-time and there was a slender improvement in the second half. Gerrard raced clear in the 70th minute and scored his 186th and final goal for the club but he had little to celebrate. There was still enough time for former Reds striker Peter Crouch to score a trademark header and make it 6-1. It was Crouch’s 47th headed goal in the Premier League, breaking a record previously set by Alan Shearer.

Stoke finished ninth with a record points tally of 54 points. It was the first time Liverpool FC had let six goals in during a league match in 52 years. They dropped to sixth and after a poor start to the following campaign, Rodgers was sacked in early October.

It was a sorry end to Gerrard’s LFC career but a joyous day for everyone connected with Stoke City.

Great Goals: Fernando Torres – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Sunderland (March 2010)

Liverpool FC struggled to fire in Rafa Benitez’s final season in the Anfield dugout but Fernando Torres continued to sparkle, even if injuries were beginning to take their toll on ‘El Nino.’

He shone especially against Sunderland with two goals in a comfortable 3-0 win for the home side. His first goal was what he was capable of in his absolute prime.

There seemed to be nothing on in the third minute. Torres was on the touchline and facing up to Michael Turner. Options were limited in the box, so the Spaniard decided to go for goal. He curled an unstoppable effort around Turner and the effort squeezed underneath the crossbar, leaving Craig Gordon without any chance of saving the strike.

Torres lit up The Kop with many special strikes but within a year, he was gone to Chelsea and never regained the form he demonstrated in his early LFC years.

Premier League Rewind: 17th-19th December 2016

Results: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea, Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea City, Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City, Sunderland 1-0 Watford, West Ham United 1-0 Hull City, West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United, AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton, Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Burnley, Everton 0-1 Liverpool FC

The final round of Premier League matches before Christmas 2016 saw 23 goals and the first managerial casualty of the season.

In a London derby, Chelsea and Crystal Palace got the weekend underway, with both sides in completely contrasting form. Palace had won just one match since the end of September, whilst Chelsea were chasing a 10th successive league victory. The league leaders were in impressive form and this was one of those matches where they weren’t quite at their fluid best but still did enough to collect all three points. Diego Costa headed home the only goal in the Blues’ 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park. The Spaniard later collected his fifth yellow card of the season, so would miss the Boxing Day encounter with AFC Bournemouth, as would N’Golo Kante. It was the final straw for the Eagles’ hierarchy and five days after this result, Alan Pardew was sacked and replaced by survival specialist, Sam Allardyce.

Chelsea’s closest challengers remained Liverpool FC. Jurgen Klopp’s team protected second spot in the table after they won 1-0 in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, which was the final fixture before Christmas. On a chilly Monday evening, the visitors’ struck late on through Sadio Mane to ensure the red side of Merseyside would hold the bragging rights over the festive period.

24 hours earlier, Manchester City made it back-to-back victories with a 2-1 success over Arsenal, who had now suffered successive defeats in the North West. Arsenal came flying out of the blocks and Theo Walcott put them ahead inside the first 10 minutes. However, Leroy Sane’s first Premier League goal and Raheem Sterling’s effort ensured the three points would stay in Manchester.

Tottenham were quietly going about their business. They beat Burnley 2-1 at White Hart Lane and Manchester United made it three wins in six days, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic the pivotal difference in their 2-0 victory at The Hawthorns over West Bromwich Albion.

At the wrong end of the table and West Ham United collected a second win in four days at the London Stadium but there was plenty of fortune about their 1-0 win over fellow relegation strugglers, Hull City. Hull hit the woodwork three times and the Hammers’ fans were so fed up with their team’s performance, they voted for the post as their Man of the Match on social media! Mark Noble’s penalty saw them take three lucky points.

Sunderland claimed a 1-0 triumph at home to inconsistent Watford. Patrick van Aanholt scored the solitary goal. It would be the Dutchman’s last in Sunderland colours. The full-back would move acrimoniously to Crystal Palace in the January transfer window. It would also turn out to be Sunderland’s last home victory in league football in 364 days, before a recent 1-0 win over Fulham in the SkyBet EFL Championship.

Elsewhere, Middlesbrough recorded their biggest win of the season, beating hapless Swansea City 3-0 and despite losing Jamie Vardy to a red card before half-time, defending champions Leicester City came back from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw away to Stoke City. Claudio Ranieri’s side though still hadn’t won away from the King Power Stadium in their title defence season.

What else happened in December 2016?

  • Aged 53, George Michael died on Christmas Day. One of the best-selling music artists of all-time, he had sold more than 115 million records worldwide.
  • Andy Murray wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the third time in four years.
  • The remains of Tim Peake’s spacecraft are bought by the UK with the intention of installing it at the Science Museum in London in 2017.
  • After 30 years with ITN, Mark Austin presents his final news bulletin with ITV. He will join Sky News as the main correspondent for the USA.
  • Among the recipients in the New Years’ Honours List are Ken Dodd who is knighted and actress Helen McCrory, who receives an OBE.
  • Gogglebox’s Scarlett Moffatt wins the ITV reality show, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!”
  • Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, is assassinated in Ankara.

Memorable Matches: AFC Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool FC (December 2016)

Goalscorers: Sadio Mane 20, Divock Origi 22, Callum Wilson 56 PEN, Emre Can 64, Ryan Fraser 76, Steve Cook 78, Nathan Ake 90

Teams:

AFC Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Nathan Ake, Steve Cook, Simon Francis, Harry Arter, Dan Gosling (Benik Afobe 75), Jack Wilshere, Junior Stanislas (Ryan Fraser 55), Josh King (Jordon Ibe 45), Callum Wilson

Liverpool FC: Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Lucas, James Milner, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane (Adam Lallana 69)

Referee: Bobby Madley, Attendance: 11,183

Liverpool FC arrived on the south coast in December 2016 on a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Jurgen Klopp’s side were the closest challengers to league leaders Chelsea. They were expected to dispatch AFC Bournemouth fairly comfortably, having won three meetings against the Cherries in 2015-2016. That was despite missing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho and centre-back Joel Matip due to injury.

The match was going to the formbook at half-time as the Reds charged into a 2-0 lead. Sadio Mane opened the scoring, scrambling the ball home in the 20th minute. Two minutes later, Mane had a big part to play in the lead being doubled, robbing Harry Arter of possession. He found Jordan Henderson and the LFC captain played a ball through for Divock Origi. Origi avoided a rash challenge from Artur Boruc and guided the ball into an empty net.

Eddie Howe’s side needed a response in the second half. He brought Ryan Fraser off the bench for Junior Stanislas and within 60 seconds of his arrival, the deficit had been reduced. Fraser was brought down in the penalty area by James Milner. Callum Wilson kept his composure to make the scoreline 2-1. Despite that intervention, Liverpool still looked in command and restored their two-goal advantage midway through the second half. Again, the dominant Mane was heavily involved, dispossessing Nathan Ake and teeing up Emre Can for a beautiful curling shot into Boruc’s net. With a 3-1 lead and job seemingly done, Klopp elected to bring Mane off. As soon the Senegalese was withdrawn, Bournemouth’s game sparkled into life with what turned out to be one of the most breathtaking comebacks of recent times in the Premier League.

Fraser scored his first-ever Premier League goal on 76 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area which Loris Karius could have done better with. Two minutes later, it was 3-3. Steve Cook controlled the ball with his back superbly, turned like a forward and thumped the ball into the net to level the scores. Bournemouth looked like the more probable winners and the comeback was complete in injury-time. Cook tried his luck again. Karius made a complete mess of the strike, fumbling the ball straight into the path of the gleeful Ake, who tapped home to send the Vitality Stadium into scenes of euphoria.

Bournemouth would finish a fantastic ninth in their second Premier League season whilst Liverpool still managed a top-four finish but this collapse would be an indication that Klopp’s team were not the finished article yet.

Iconic Moments: Rosenthal misses an open goal (September 1992)

When Aston Villa met Liverpool FC at Villa Park in September 1992, the match was an early reunion for Dean Saunders. Saunders had recently transferred from Merseyside to Birmingham and whilst he scored twice for his new club in a 4-2 victory, that wasn’t the iconic moment of the match.

Israeli forward Ronny Rosenthal pulled off one of the Premier League’s most embarrassing misses ever seen. Even 25 years on, few have come close to toppling it. From a long punt up the pitch by visiting goalkeeper David James, Rosenthal got the better of Villa’s Shaun Teale and evaded the challenge of goalkeeper Nigel Spink. He’d done the hard part, now all he had to do was roll the ball into the empty net.

He elected to go for power over an easy side-footed finish and it seriously backfired. With pinpoint accuracy, he inexplicably managed to hit the crossbar with the goal gaping and begging at his mercy to score. It was an unbelievable miss and one which has gone down in the Premier League archive.

Rosenthal did score a consolation goal in this match and he did come off the bench to score a stunning hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup fifth round replay at Southampton in 1995. However, he will always be remembered as the man who beautifully managed to miss an open goal.

Great Goals: Dimitar Berbatov – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2010)

With Wayne Rooney struggling for form after a difficult summer at the World Cup in South Africa, Manchester United turned to Dimitar Berbatov to fill the goalscoring void. Seen as a misfit after struggling to find any serious form in 2009-2010, the Bulgarian could be brilliant on his day. In September 2010 against Liverpool FC, he was outstanding.

Berbatov had already put the home side infront, evading some slack marking from Fernando Torres to head home from a corner. In the 58th minute, he made it 2-0 with a sublime bicycle kick. Darren Fletcher started the move with a long ball that found Nani out wide. Paul Konchesky backed off the winger, allowing the Portuguese to cross the ball into the Liverpool box. It found Berbatov who controlled it superbly in the air. Still with his back to goal, he produced a special overhead kick that left Pepe Reina completely stranded.

A quick-fire double from Steven Gerrard pulled Liverpool FC back into the contest but it was Berbatov’s day. He headed home a late winner to complete his hat-trick. This was his match and a vintage moment from a player who was always capable of the spectacular.

Great Goals: Tony Yeboah – LEEDS UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (August 1995)

Leeds United were crying out for a top striker when they went to Germany to sign Ghanaian forward Tony Yeboah from Eintracht Frankfurt in January 1995. Yeboah had scored plenty of goals in the Bundesliga for the Eagles, sharing the ‘Torjägerkanone’ award for the top scorer on two separate occasions.

Having already impressed Leeds supporters in his early months at the club, he scored some devastating goals in the early weeks of the 1995-1996 campaign and this is my favourite of his collection. In the club’s first home match of the campaign, Leeds entertained Liverpool FC and an evenly-matched contest is locked at 0-0 in the 51st minute.

After a scrappy period of play, the ball is played out on the wing to Tony Dorigo. The left-back floats the ball forward to Rod Wallace. Wallace is able to head the ball backwards towards his strike partner. Yeboah has escaped the attentions of Phil Babb and earned some space for the first time in the match. The ball drops out of the air and sweetly onto his boot. His connection is inch-perfect and the ball flies into the net off the underside of the crossbar. It was the winning goal on the evening and still considered one of the best goals of the Premier League in the 1990s.

Iconic Moments: Suarez’s biting shame (April 2013)

When Liverpool FC sold Fernando Torres on transfer deadline day in January 2011, few fans thought they would be getting a better replacement. Just over £20 million was paid to the Dutch club Ajax for Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Suarez would leave plenty of amazing and breathtaking memories on our game but he also brought baggage with him to this country.

Famed for the handball on the goal-line in extra-time that denied Ghana a place in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals, Suarez wasn’t the most popular player with neutral fans. His character was stained further after he was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra during a match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United in October 2011. Suarez was banned for eight matches by the FA and his refusal to shake Evra’s hand in the reverse fixture on his return at Old Trafford also received plenty of condemnation.

In 2012-2013, he was in electrifying form. Only Robin van Persie was ahead of him in the goalscoring charts and he was beginning to form a deadly alliance with Daniel Sturridge in the Reds’ attack under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers. In April 2013, Chelsea visited Anfield which was Rafa Benitez’s first return to the ground since leaving his post as Liverpool manager three years earlier.

The game was finely balanced. Chelsea led 2-1 after Suarez had unnecessarily given away a penalty for handball from which Eden Hazard converted from. Minutes later, he had a clash with Branislav Ivanovic in the Liverpool penalty area as a counter-attack broke down. Ivanovic was incensed about the battle though and pointed out to the referee Kevin Friend what had happened. At first, none of us knew what he was on about. However, replays were about to reveal the extent of Suarez’s crime. Upset with the grappling on him, he decided to take a bite out of the Serbian defender. It was an appalling and disgusting piece of behaviour which was initially unseen so he went unpunished. To add insult to Chelsea’s woes, Suarez scored a late equaliser to rescue a point for his side.

Four days later, he was charged by the FA and banned for 10 matches. Liverpool stated intent to appeal against the suspension but after 48 hours withdrew on Suarez’s acceptance that he should serve the ban and learn his lesson.  He didn’t though. The same incident happened in the 2014 World Cup when he was playing for Uruguay.

He left Liverpool FC with many fantastic memories including great goals, devastating hat-tricks against Norwich City and deservedly swept the awards board in 2014 before his £75 million switch to Barcelona. However, the marks on his character will always remain with many fans.

 

Shock Results: Liverpool FC 1-2 Blackpool (October 2010)

Goalscorers: Charlie Adam 29 PEN, Luke Varney 45, Sotirios Kyrgiakos 53

Teams:

Liverpool FC: Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Christian Poulsen (Milan Jovanovic 60), Raul Meireles, Joe Cole (Maxi Rodriguez 88), Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres (David Ngog 10)

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Craig Cathcart (Dekal Keinan 20), Neal Eardley (Matt Phillips 46), Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam, Elliot Grandin (Keith Southern 63), David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, DJ Campbell, Luke Varney

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 43,156

In October 2010, storm clouds were gathering around Anfield. Liverpool FC started this match against Blackpool in the bottom three of the Premier League, having mustered just one win from their opening six matches. The Reds’ had also been embarrassingly dumped out of the League Cup on penalties by Northampton Town.

It wasn’t the start that reigning LMA Manager of the Year Roy Hodgson was expecting. With the club’s sale being challenged in the courts by unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, there was gloom all around the red half of Merseyside.

Blackpool arrived with two away wins already under their belt and Ian Holloway’s side were looking forward to their first league trip to Anfield since 1971. Despite back-to-back defeats, a win would take the Tangerines’ into ninth place in the table. The mood around the home supporters was not helped by the loss of star forward Fernando Torres to injury inside 10 minutes. As he trooped down the tunnel, Blackpool’s confidence grew and they nearly took the lead shortly afterwards when DJ Campbell guided a half-volley only fractionally wide of the far post.

In the 29th minute, the visitors’ got a golden opportunity to silence The Kop. Glen Johnson’s clumsy challenge on Luke Varney earned Blackpool a penalty. Johnson protested his innocence but Mike Jones rightfully gave the spot-kick. Under a chorus of pressure, Charlie Adam kept his composure and drilled his penalty underneath Pepe Reina’s body to give Holloway’s side a shock but deserved lead.

Liverpool were dismal in the first 45 minutes and the scoreline was about to get worse. Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s superb angled pass played in the dangerous Varney, who made no mistake from 12-yards out and put Blackpool supporters into dreamland. The home fans booed their own players off at the half-time whistle. This was turning into another painful afternoon for the Anfield faithful.

Hodgson had to revive his underperforming stars at the interval and they reduced the deficit in the opening eight minutes of the second half. Steven Gerrard’s free-kick was powered home by Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Greek came close again later on from a similar routine but was denied by a fine stop from Matt Gilks.

Blackpool held on for a famous win – their first at Anfield since 1969 and they went on to complete a league double over LFC. It was Liverpool’s worst start to a season in 57 years and Hodgson eventually left in January. Kenny Dalglish returned to the dugout and they would rally to finish sixth. Despite thrilling neutrals all season, Blackpool were relegated on the final day of the season. This though is a day their fans will never forget.

The Managers: Roy Evans

Premier League Clubs Managed: Liverpool FC (1994-1998)

Bill Shankly once said when manager of Liverpool FC, “second place will never do.” Roy Evans was one of his disciples. Evans was the final part of the famous ‘Boot Room’ team at Anfield who got a crack at managing the Merseyside giants.

There was initial promise and he played a significant part in Robbie Fowler’s rise through the ranks from young hotshot to serial Premier League goalscorer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t revitalise the magic that some of his predecessors had demonstrated over the years.

Learning the ropes

Evans did embark on a playing career that never really took off. He played just nine times for Liverpool FC in nine years. In the 1970s, Shankly saw something different in Evans and suggested for him to abandon his unsuccessful playing role and try a career as a coach. It was an inspired move.

Evans served as a coach for the best part of two decades at Anfield, witnessing Liverpool FC’s dominance of English football in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a coach under Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish. When Graeme Souness succeeded Dalglish in 1991, Evans became assistant manager, with long-time friend Ronnie Moran remaining as first-team coach. The seeds had been sown for Evans to step out of the shadows and into the limelight.

In January 1994, Liverpool FC’s decline was evident. They were dumped out of the FA Cup at Anfield in a replay by lowly Bristol City. Realising results were not improving, Souness quit with the team only mid-table in the league and out of both domestic cup competitions. Speculation was that the Reds’ would turn to a more well-known face but they stuck to their principles. After a brief caretaker spell, Evans was given the job permanently in March 1994.

Promising early signs

Evans took over a team that was low on confidence. Souness’ radical aim to usher out the old guard and push more youngsters through had backfired. He had made too many changes and also made some dodgy moves in the transfer market. Evans inherited a right old mess but there were promising early signs.

In his first full season, Liverpool FC became an attractive side to watch again. Evans guided the club to a domestic cup final. Two goals from Steve McManaman saw the Merseysiders defeat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup final. There was a 4th-place finish in the league too. The likes of McManaman and Jamie Redknapp made impressive strides forward in their development. That also brought the best out of the likes of John Barnes and Ian Rush. One of Evans’ biggest successes though was the rise of Robbie Fowler. Fowler became one of the hottest prospects in English football, scoring a flurry of goals that saw him win the PFA Young Player of the Year award for two seasons running.

Evans signed John Scales from Wimbledon and Coventry City’s Phil Babb to add more defensive options to his line-up. His next part of the jigsaw was to break the British transfer record in the summer of 1995 to sign Stan Collymore. Liverpool FC were seen as a serious title challenger and they improved their finishing position to third in 1995-1996. Unfortunately, a dire run of form in November saw them tumble from second to ninth in the table and that ultimately scuppered a serious title push. Once again, there were bright moments. Aston Villa blown away in eight minutes in March 1996 and Collymore’s dramatic winner in the epic 4-3 win over Newcastle United a month later. After several years in the wilderness, Liverpool were emerging again as a major player in the English game.

Blowing the big chance

Liverpool FC made the FA Cup final in 1996 but in a dour game, played poorly and were beaten by Manchester United thanks to an Eric Cantona goal. It was a day when the club were remembered more for a disastrous white suit that was worn pre-game! If anything, this was the beginning of the end for Evans, who probably lacked the authority and demeanour of other Liverpool managers.

For the 1996-1997 season, he added Patrik Berger after his outstanding Euro 96 performances for the Czech Republic. It was a young side and at the turn of the year, they went five points clear at the top of the table. Despite disappointing cup exits in January 1997 to Middlesbrough and Chelsea respectively, it looked like the league championship could well return to Anfield. Unfortunately, too many slip-ups proved costly.

The Reds’ failed to beat Blackburn Rovers at home, lost to a late Ian Taylor goal at Villa Park and were then beaten at Anfield by bottom-placed Coventry City. By now, the media has dubbed the LFC youngsters – McManaman, Redknapp, Fowler, Berger and Jason McAteer as “The Spice Boys.” The general opinion was they were having too much fun off-the-pitch and not focusing enough on the job of bringing the championship prize back to the Anfield trophy cabinet.

Evans wasn’t helped by some calamitous goalkeeping displays by David James. He lacked the strength in this department and didn’t have the bravery to drop James for his error-strewn performances. Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United in April was a deeply disappointing display from the whole team which dashed their hopes of winning the league. They ended up in fourth place, pipped to a runners-up spot on goal difference by Newcastle United and Arsenal.

The joint-manager failure

Although Michael Owen made a similar impact Fowler had five seasons earlier with his goals in 1997-1998, Liverpool were nowhere near the title race and finished a distant third, 13 points behind champions Arsenal. Their points total declined for a third season in a row and the board decided to act.

They brought Gerard Houllier into the club to work alongside Evans as joint-managers. From the outset, questions were raised about the partnership and it was clear the players struggled to deal with two different sets of instructions. Following a League Cup exit in November 1998 to Tottenham Hotspur, it spelt an emotional end for Roy. He realised the partnership between him and Houllier was not working.

Two days after the Spurs loss, a press conference was held to confirm his departure after 33 years with the club in various capacities. Evans admitted: “I’d like to thank the chairman and board for the support they have given me. I dispute my record is one of failure. At any other club it would be a success but not at Liverpool. Our biggest regret is that we could not achieve success for the people who work at the club.”

Today, Roy Evans is still a Liverpool man and he works regularly as a co-commentator for live audio broadcasts of Reds’ matches on the club website. He is also a regular pundit on the club’s dedicated TV channel LFCTV.

Roy Evans is a one-club man and deserved his opportunity to follow in the footsteps of legendary Liverpool managers. Sadly for him, it didn’t go the way he hoped. He had a great relationship with the board and did really well in bringing younger players through. Unfortunately, his lack of decisiveness and ruthlessness was probably the contributing factor in not being able to bring the league championship back to Anfield.

Great Goals: Steven Gerrard – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Middlesbrough (April 2005)

In the closing weeks of the 2004-2005 campaign, Liverpool FC’s attentions were firmly on their historic UEFA Champions League run. Their league form had been inconsistent all season and they were a goal behind to Middlesbrough early on at Anfield.

For so long, it was skipper Steven Gerrard who would drag the Merseysiders back into matches. Gerrard scored many special goals in his career with the club. This was certainly in his top 10 at least. Spotted in space by John Arne Riise, Gerrard traps the ball and it sits up for him to launch a shot on goal. His dipping volley flies into the roof of the net, giving his future teammate Brad Jones no chance.

The match finished 1-1 but it was the platform for a historic month in Gerrard’s career which resulted in his mega individual display in the Istanbul final that helped Liverpool FC become Champions of Europe once again.