Liverpool are European Champions. Liverpool are WORLD CHAMPIONS. You could say there’s never been a better time to be a Red. But, as we reach the end of the current decade, I think its important to look back and truly understand how far we’ve come, both as a club and a fanbase.
2010 was a somewhat tumultuous time for Liverpool. 5 years after the triumph in Istanbul, it was a case of “how the mighty have fallen.” As the clock struck midnight and 2009 turned in 2010, The Reds found themselves languishing in 7th place in the league, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea and had been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage.
With Rafa Benitez failing to replace Xabi Alonso, the team was missing something majorly and Alberto Aquilani certainly didn’t provide the missing piece of the puzzle. It wasn’t all negative, though, as we were about 10 minutes away from the Europa League final before Atletico Madrid and Diego Forlan broke our hearts.
We finished 7th, far far away from the dizzy heights of 2nd place from the previous season. Hicks and Gillett had seen enough of Kop hero Benitez and replaced him with… *sigh* Roy Hodgson. Hodgson had led Fulham to the Europa League final, producing a stunning comeback against Juventus along the way. A decent appointment, we thought.
Javier Mascherano left for Barcelona in the Summer of 2010, leaving Stevie Gerrard as the only remaning member of “the best midfield in the world,” and when an ageing Joe Cole is labelled as that Summers “marquee signing,” you know something is up. Cole was joined by Christian Poulsen, Paul Konchesky & Milan Jovanovic to complete the 4 most underwhelming signings and possibly the worst Summer window we’ve had as a club.
All wasn’t well off the pitch either. Hicks and Gillett had run the club down. We were £273 million in debt and were dangerously close to emulating Rangers and dropping down the league pyramid. Fenway Sports Group and John W. Henry came in and saved the club from administration in October 2010, cheers for that John. The first game under their ownership was a 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison so our fortunes weren’t changing on the pitch.
Home defeats to newly promoted Blackpool and Wolves ensured Liverpool ended the calendar year in 12th, just 4 points from the relegation zone. This coined the infamous Hogdson quote: “Liverpool aren’t too big for a relegation battle.” A RELEGATION BATTLE!
From genuine relegation candidates to being factually the best team in the world in 9 years, Liverpool FC are truly back at the top table of World football.