09 September 2007

Can they match Kenny's kings?

By Simon Mullock 09/09/2007

Rafa Benitez is the fourth manager to be asked to restore Liverpool to the summit of English football in the 17 years since Kenny Dalglish won the last of the club's record 18 titles.
Graeme Souness, Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier added some silverware to Anfield's bulging trophy room. And the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup Treble that Houllier achieved in 2001 means he will never walk alone.
There was even the unique and illfated experiment that saw Evans and Houllier share duties for six months until the club's board realised that in football management one head is better than two.
Yet apart from a runnersup spot secured in the months after Dalglish's shock departure in 1991 and another second-placed finish under Houllier 11 years later, Liverpool have consistently knocked on the championship door without ever finding the key to go in.
That was the cue three years ago to dispense with Houllier and headhunt Benitez.
Here was a man who had twice achieved a feat once deemed impossible by guiding Valencia to La Liga at a time when Real Madrid and Barcelona dominated Spain.
Twelve months later, Benitez was assured of a place alongside Liverpool's managerial greats when he lifted the Champions League and the following year there was the FA Cup.
There was nothing new for the Anfield cleaners to polish last season - and while another Champions League Final appearance and a third-placed finish at home may have satisfied most fans, those supporters who populate the Kop will not be happy until Liverpool are champions of England again.
Benitez shares their frustrations - and his demand that the club's new owners back him with £50m for new players was much more than an idle threat.
The Spaniard got his way - and Liverpool went into the international break top of the Premier League.
The title can't be won after four games but, as Benitez discovered during last year's sluggish start, it can be lost by then.
Liverpool's fans got their only glimpse of the Premier League trophy in 1995 - as it was handed to Blackburn.
You can be sure that after their team's impressive start, they will already be looking into ways of getting tickets for White Hart Lane on May 11.

Liverpool's long wait for the title
1989-1990 (Div One): 1st
1990-1991 (Div One): 2nd
1991-1992 (Div One): 6th
1992-1993 (Prem): 6th
1993-1994 (Prem): 8th
1994-1995 (Prem): 4th
1995-1996 (Prem): 3rd
1996-1997 (Prem): 4th
1997-1998 (Prem): 3rd
1998-1999 (Prem): 7th
1999-2000 (Prem): 4th
2000-2001 (Prem): 3rd
2001-2002 (Prem): 2nd
2002-2003 (Prem): 5th
2003-2004 (Prem): 4th
2004-2005 (Prem): 5th
2005-2006 (Prem): 3rd
2006-2007 (Prem): 3rd

No comments:



The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish

The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish
If we have them now, say farewell to Arsenal, Man.U and Chelsea... if...