Liverpool's championship triumph: the journey of a club from trophy less to champions of Europe

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The date was 1st may 2019 and it was the first leg of UEFA Champions league semifinals between
Barcelona and Liverpool. The venue was the famous Camp Nou stadium, home stadium of football club
Barcelona one of the biggest and most successful football clubs in all of Europe. The match was won by
Barcelona thanks to a masterclass performance by Lionel Messi the greatest player the sport has ever
seen. Two goals from the little magician out of which one was an exquisite and inch perfect freekick
which was later on declared as the goal of the tournament for the season 2018-19 and one from Luis
Suarez meant that Barca won emphatically with a 3 goal advantage. In fact in all honesty Liverpool
received a thrashing in that game from one of the favourites to win the tournament Barcelona.
A comeback seemed improbable as anyone who follows European club football knows the mantle Barca
possess and how herculean a task it would be to overturn a 3 goal deficit against a club like Barcelona
that has been dominating European club football for decades. To make things worse worse Barca were
on a roll against English clubs having already faced two other English clubs Tottenham Hotspurs and
Manchester United during earlier matches in the UCL and thrashing both clubs with little effort. On top of
that regular starters for Liverpool like Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita were declared
unavailable for the second leg against Barca because of injuries so it is safe to say things looked bleak
for the English club not to mention they had no time to rest players unlike Barca who had already won
the La Liga before the 2nd leg clash the premier league race was hot as well in which Manchester City
were league leaders with Liverpool being second with just 1 point behind but Manchester City showed no
indications of slowing down some started to think whether this would be yet another trophy less season
for Liverpool despite their brilliant performance all season long but as it happened destiny had other
plans for Liverpool.

The second leg was played at the famous Anfield stadium home of Liverpool and many football experts
believed that Liverpool needed a miracle to advance to the final and as it turns out a miracle was
delivered by Liverpool players and coaching staff. Playing attacking and fierce football from the get go
Liverpool kept applying high pressure on the Barcelona players from the starting whistle. The idea was to
not let the Catalan club’s players settle in their own rhythm and tempo because that would have meant
certain elimination for Liverpool. Playing with their hearts with immense determination and tenacity
Liverpool managed to overturn the 3 goal deficit. In front of their fans and ex club captain and Liverpool
legend Steven Gerrard the Liverpool players gave a performance that made anyone who loves Liverpool
proud of these men and their commitment towards football. Their performance was so good that made
even some Barca fans who were devastated by the result couldn’t help but acknowledge Liverpool’s
efforts.

To understand the importance of Liverpool’s performances throughout the season one has to go back
into the past of the club. Liverpool last won the champions league in the year 2005 under the captaincy
of Steven Gerrard in Istanbul which is also famously known as the miracle of Istanbul. Liverpool were
playing AC Milan in the finals of the 2005-06 UEFA champions league. Milan who were the favourites
started in a spectacular fashion and scored 3 goals before the half time. After the break Liverpool came
back into the match and scored 3 in the remaining 45 minutes. The match then went into extra time but
the scores remained level at 3-3 and finally in the penalties Liverpool emerged victorious 3-2 to clinch the
trophy in what many believe is the greatest UEFA champions league final of all time, but after that fateful
night things started to go downhill for Liverpool football club.

The performance of the club started to decline and it started to become second fiddle to other elite clubs
of European football. Trophies and laurels became rare so much so that between the years of 2005-19
they only won an FA cup in 2006, League cup in 2012 and FA Community Shield in 2006. The plummet
was to such an extent that from the years 2009-13 Liverpool didn’t even qualify for the Champions
league. During this period Liverpool were suffering in the premier league as well. Managers kept on
changing and new signings were being made and players were being brought in and sold out regularly
but the desired result didn’t seem anywhere in sight. The first light of hope in a long while emerged when
Jurgen Klopp took over the proceedings at the club in October 2015. When Klopp arrived the club was in
a critical state that is when he arrived the club was in dire need of positive results and Klopp realized that
to achieve this a lot of things needed to be changed.

Klopp knew that he had to change the Liverpool he was given command of to the old Liverpool that
pulled of the miracle of Istanbul but this was no easy task and Klopp understood this very well. Klopp
recognized that first of all he needed to change the morale of the players. Due to not getting desired
results the players started to feel grim and it started to show in their game. Klopp rejuvenated the

dressing room by instilling the players with new zest, hope and confidence. Klopp brought in new players
believing that a healthy competition for the starting lineup will bring out the best in each player. The new
manager rekindled the flames of tenacity and passion that he felt had gone missing in the players. The
signing of new players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane gave new life to the Liverpool attack. Klopp
changed Liverpool’s style of playing to the famous gegenpress the style of extremely high pressing
football made famous by Jurgen Klopp during his managerial days at Borussia Dortmund. The new style
of play started working and this was evident from the way the team played their games. Liverpool now
started to enjoy more possession while keeping the opposition under constant high press and were able
to control the game’s pace as per their own needs. It took the players a while to adjust to Klopp’s
philosophy of playing but once it was done it showed in the way the team approached and played
games. Positive results started coming in and Liverpool football club was reverting back to its previous
self.

With this positive change Liverpool managed to reach the finals of the UEFA Champions league last
season but they eventually lost to Real Madrid football club in what was a controversial final because of
Sergio Ramos’ tackle on Salah. Salah was forced off the ground near the half hour mark due to a
shoulder injury and the absence of their talisman who was present at the center of things for them
throughout the season affected their performance in the final. Liverpool who were having the upper hand
over Real before the half hour mark were now loosing grip of the game as Real was tightening theirs.
This along with a couple of keeping errors by their ex goal keeper Loris Karius meant that Liverpool lost
the final 3-1 despite of Sadio Mane’s goal.

Liverpool then set their eyes on this year’s UCL. Despite losing out in the finals last season the player’s
weren’t dejected in fact if anything the result only augmented the player’s hunger for success at the
grandest stage of club football. The team under the captaincy of Jordan Henderson kept on striving for
trophies this season and were at their best throughout the premier league losing only 1 game out of the
38 and winning 30 of them and drawing 7 but they lost the premier league title to Manchester City by just
1 point. Liverpool under Henderson’s captaincy, a defense line led by Virgil Van Dijk, a midfield led by
James Milner and the front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp kept
on giving their all on the ground and it was due to this never say die attitude they were able to overturn a
3 goal deficit against an European club football behemoth like Barcelona.

Having overcome Barcelona in the semifinal Liverpool then went on to face Tottenham Hotspurs in the
final of this season’s UEFA Champions league and won the game thanks to a 2nd minute goal by Salah and an 87
th minute goal by Divock Origi. Liverpool who were struggling to make it past the group stages
of the UEFA champions league this season went on to lift the title all because the players and coaching
staff believed in what they can achieve together. This fairy tale run of undying passion, struggle, hope
and confidence and the efforts of the Liverpool players and manager teach us a lesson that no dream is
unachievable one only needs the tenacity, patience and will to strive towards their goals despite
whatever the odds may be. The only thing standing between us and our dreams are the limitations we
put on ourselves. Liverpool’s triumphant run of the UCL teaches us that if you give it your all you will go
the distance. Liverpool’s glorious march throughout the season fully justifies their motto and ideals of
You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[ Article by: gursagar singh ]

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