Thursday, September 28, 2023

T4O’s Flashback: 5 Times When The Champions Came Calling At Castle Anfield | Liverpool vs Leicester Preview

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism.2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

A reinvigorated, renovated Anfield will be host to the Champions Leicester, this weekend. As the Foxes prep themselves up to perhaps cheekily snatch a point or three, they will have the unenviable task of contending with not only the history the Merseyside giants have on their side (unbeaten in 4 fixtures out of 5, in five years vs defending champions), but also a sea of Red that could make the visitors batten down their hatches – facilitated by the monumental 18,700-seater Main Stand, that takes the crowd capacity to 54 thousand, 167.

T4O’s Srijandeep, takes a walk down memory lane and revisits the primed occasions when the champions came calling to castle Anfield.

15 October 2011
Liverpool 1–1 Manchester United
12:45 BST

Gerrard Goal 68′
Hernández Goal 81′

Attendance: 45,065
Referee: Andre Marriner

It was one of those games, where the home team outplays the visitors in every which department, but still have to exit the stadium, lurched over, with hands on their hips. United were lagging, heavy-footed and were two steps behind Kenny Dalglish’s unputdownable Liverpool. Struggling to come to terms with the unfamiliar formation put in front of them, Alex Ferguson’s disjointed bunch were lucky  to come out this match with a point.

Stevie Gerrard, returning from a groin injury, was the all too familiar protagonist, as he slotted home an immaculate free-kick bent over and around United’s hapless wall, wheeling away in premature celebration. While, the coyote in the box, Javi Hernandez, snatched and surreptitious draw from the jaws of defeat, ghosting in for a corner, in the dying embers of the match, and nodding the ball in an unsuspecting Liverpool net. Liverpool finished 8th that season, King Kenny made his last bow as manager.

26 August 2012
Liverpool 2–2 Manchester City
16:00 BST

Škrtel Goal 34′
Suárez Goal 66′, Booked 90+4′

Y. Touré Goal 63′
Tevez Goal 80′

Attendance: 44,492
Referee: Andre Marriner

As was the theme under Brendan Rodgers, most of their mistakes were self-inflicted. Liverpool’s Jekyll and Hyde show took an all-time high, as the initial promise was outdone by their sheer profligacy and penchant for the embarrassing.

Despite the endeavours of Luis Suarez, who scored 30 goals in all competitions, Liverpool finished 7th, were knocked out in the fourth round of both the FA Cup and the English League Cup, and outrightly incompetent showing in Europe, exiting the Europa League in the Round of 32.

The theme was set early on, as Liverpool entertained champions Manchester City at Anfield, and while they ran them off the ground for most parts, instead of burying the hatchet of inconsistency once and for all, they dropped it on their foot.

Suarez, from over a distance of 30 yards, conjured a rasper of a curler, one of the best free-kicks ever seen at Anfield – that says a lot considering the past efforts of Steven Gerrard, Kenny Dalglish, Gary McAllister, and John Arne Riise, among others.

That goal extended Liverpool’s lead courtesy the shiny head of Martin Skrtel bullet header – but his contribution did not end there. A goal-line scramble featuring the Slovakian, allowed a primed Yaya Toure to stick a foot in. And then, the piece de resistance of a back-pass from the now Fenerbache defender, served a goal for Carlos Tevez on a platter. Thus, the tone was set.

1 September 2013
Liverpool 1–0 Manchester United
13:30 BST

Sturridge Goal 4′
Aspas Booked 35′
Lucas Booked 90′

Cleverley Booked 35′
Van Persie Booked 39′
Carrick Booked 41′
Young Booked 59′

Attendance: 44,411
Referee: Andre Marriner

Daniel Sturridge was the switchblade knife to Luis Suarez’s chainsaw. Quiet, unassuming, but equally deadly. In three of the opening games, the England international, scored as many times to hand Rodgers’ team three successive 1-0 wins – first time since 1994-1995 season. The latest against the visiting Champions, Manchester United, who since had a change of guard as Alex Ferguson installed David Moyes as his chosen successor.

The man who lost five and drawn six, Moyes’ dire record at Anfield continued, as Liverpool put in a fighting display to defend their early lead, courtesy a close-range nod from Sturridge that came as abruptly as the 3rd minute of play, from a devilish corner delivery via air mail, stamped by Stevie Gerrard’s Mjolnir of a right foot.

The grit on show was fitting as the Anfield faithful celebrated the 100th birthday of the incomparable, Bill Shankly – a cornerstone of character, upon whom Liverpool’s legacy was built upon, quarried off the mining town of modest Glenbuck. A fighting finish that saw them secure 2nd spot, with scintillating displays, would have made the Scot tune-in to the heaven’s version of Match of the Day.

1 March 2015
Liverpool 2–1 Manchester City
12:00 GMT

Henderson Goal 11′
Coutinho Goal 75′
Lallana Booked 84′

Džeko Goal 26′
Nasri Booked 57′
Milner Booked 82′
Bony Booked 86′

Attendance: 44,590
Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Liverpool ended the season languishing in 6th, but it was not before they put in a few memorable displays – reaching the semi-finals of both the League Cup and the FA Cup, and few small mercies in the Premier League. This was one of them.

There’s something about Brazilians and not wanting to score goals, the easy way. It was the season that lil’ Phil Coutinho started to bare his teeth as the boy for the big occasions. The former Vasco da Gama graduate was slowly but steadily finding his coordinates towards the goal-mouth, and his 4th strike of the season gave Liverpool a shot in the arm, following Luis Suarez protracted move away to Barcelona, which knocked the wind out of their sails and any chance of repeating their title charge, bobbing in the doldrums.

Jordan Henderson was in a rich vein of form that season, and carried it into this match, with a spanking half-volley that curled past Joe Hart. Edin Dzeko’s goal-line finish could only delay the inevitable, as Coutinho put the revolutions through his side-footed effort to steer it past a hapless England international, who would have been feeling the case of deja vu.

11 May 2016
Liverpool 1–1 Chelsea
20:00 BST

Can Booked 44′
Touré Booked 48′
Milner Booked 73′
Benteke Goal 90+2′

Hazard Goal 32′
Azpilicueta Booked 87′

Attendance: 43,210
Referee: Michael Oliver

ENTER HERR JUERGEN. That sounds eerily close to Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon. Perhaps, aptly, too. Juergen Klopp’s first league win with Liverpool came at Chelsea’s stronghold, Stamford Bridge, in the reverse fixture, where his men tore into the Chelsea defence with the ease of Bruce Lee ripping apart the translucent Japanese paper screens, in the aforementioned movie. A brace from the lil’ big man Phil Coutinho, and a late strike from Chris Benteke pinned another nail in Juergen-antithesis, Jose Mourinho’s coffin.

It was Benteke, back in Anfield, who struck again, producing an error from a goal-mouth scramble, helping his side this time, with a late equaliser to cancel out Eden Hazard’s sexy solo goal.

It was close but no cake for Juergen, as they could only muster 8th position in the league, but to his credit, finished as runners-up in both the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

Footnote: It’s all poised beautifully, and Juergen Klopp ad his new charges will look to feed of the sheer electricity that ought to be swirling the hallowed cauldron with noise and static. Liverpool fan or not, this will be a sight for the ages.

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