After a stupendous 2018/19 Premier League campaign, Liverpool came up agonisingly short. However, even though they were left waiting another year for their 19th league title, The Reds’ season under Jurgen Klopp was entirely reminiscent of the glory days the Reds enjoyed in England back in 1990, the year they last lifted the trophy.
At a time when the TV sets were boxy, Liverpool enjoyed an era of dominance in English football, especially during the 1980’s. They managed to lift the Football League Cup – First Division (as Premier League was known before 1992) seven times during that decade. Under their iconic manager Kenny Dalglish, the Reds enjoyed phenomenal success.
With Dalglish at the helm, the Reds finished nine points clear of Aston Villa at the top of the First Division, securing the title with 79 points in 38 games in the 1989/90 season. It paints a painful picture when the points table of the 2018/19 season is kept in perspective, as even after a record-breaking season of 97 points in a similar number of games, the league title wasn’t secured.
Last time Liverpool won the league in 1990...memories. At least you tried...😅🤣 pic.twitter.com/jBasEiSkLa— Psyzah Thobakgale 🇿🇦 (@Psyzah) May 12, 2019
Liverpool’s then number one Bruce Grobbelaar stood steady between the sticks, keeping 12 clean sheets in the league, with his acrobatic saves proving to be a major dealmaker for the Reds. There might have been an odd mistake, but Grobbelaar was never off his game.
Defensive responsibilities were shared between legendary club captain Alan Hansen and elegant Swedish centre back Glenn Hysen, while Steve Saunton and David Burrows usually played on the left back positions and held their grounds firmly throughout the season.
The successive central midfield pairing of Steve McManaman and Ronnie Whelan was a pivotal part of Liverpool’s success. The duo were undeniably the heartbeat and the engine that made the entire team tick and build attacking plays. McManaman’s vital ability to pick up long passes, and his consistency in scoring goals proved immaculately fruitful for the Merseysiders. The biggest memory of the 1989/90 season was McManaman’s twenty-yard chip in the 9-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace that left the fans in a frenzy and gasping for breath.
Although, when it came to lead the attacking charge, Peter Beardsley and Ian Rush never backed off for a single moment. The iconic duo were lethal goal scorers for the Reds, with their teammates looking up to them in times of need.
They found their names on the score sheet in every other game, but it was winger John Barnes, unarguably the greatest player to put on the Liverpool jersey, who made all the difference in the 1989/90 campaign. The charismatic player netted 22 goals for the Reds and ended up being the leading goal scorer for the Merseysiders in 1990.
Currently, Jurgen Klopp has the fans’ faith after a remarkable 2018/19 campaign which included a sixth European title for the Reds, strengthening the promise of ending a 29-year wait. Dalglish was equivocally hailed for his success as the Merseysiders lifted three league titles under his reign, but the wait has been prolonged beyond the expectations of many.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis