It’s been a tumultuous, difficult couple of seasons for Liverpool Football Club and its fans. Less than two years ago, the Reds were pushing Manchester United to the brink in the Premier League title race, as the Reds were desperately hoping to remain top of the list of titles won.
Now, the Reds have a very outside chance at securing Europa League qualification for next year, and United looks almost certain to win the record 19th domestic crown.
My how quickly times can change.
But overall, you have to think that Reds fans are much happier now than they were at this time last year, or even a few months ago.
The Rafa Benitez era came to an end last summer after the failure to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League and a disappointing seventh-place finish. Some fans may have been upset at the Spaniard’s departure, but the morale was just not good around Anfield, and a change needed to be made.
In hindsight, staying with Rafa might’ve been better than Roy Hodgson’s tenure, but you have to think Kenny Dalglish would’ve been brought in eventually.
The King has brought all of Anfield back together, has ignited a fire under his players, and he has put hope and optimism back into the minds’ of Liverpool players and fans.
Sure, the Reds look set for a sixth-place finish with no European competition next season, but the hopes surrounding next season are so much brighter than they were this time last year.
Reds fans, no offense to the Europa League, really don’t want to be bothered with that next year. We want the Premier League back. We want another European Cup to add to the five already in Anfield trophy case.
We want to make sure that Manchester United doesn’t get the chance to add even more Premier League titles to their trophy case, or an easy chance at least.
The lack of European football may not be a bad thing for next year. It can give the Reds more opportunity to bolster their domestic performances.
Liverpool has been woefully bad in the League and FA Cups in recent years, and the lack of European football could also bolster the Reds chances in these competitions.
The most important change this season has brought is obviously the change of ownership. No matter what, the departure of Tom Hicks and George Gillett from Merseyside last October was the best thing to happen to Liverpool FC in a while.
What makes it even better is that the new owners, John W. Henry and Fenway Sports Group, seem very willing to take Liverpool back where it belongs: the top.
They sent an unhappy Fernando Torres packing in January but not without commanding an exorbitant fee, and they made sure to get promising replacements in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll who have already lit up the Kop and have the best years of their careers ahead of them.
The transfer activity will likely continue in the summer as Liverpool clearly needs more depth, but the owners have shown they are smart spenders. Not like some owners who have never met an asking price they didn’t think was too low.
They are also leaning toward revamping Anfield instead of moving to a new stadium, a choice most diehard Reds fans appreciate.
The owners haven’t offered Kenny a long-term contract yet, but there’s no way that won’t be the first order of business in the summer, at the latest.
Overall, this season has not been one to etch in the record books of Liverpool Football Club, but it has been a successful one for the future.
Kenny Dalglish is back at the helm, youngsters are coming through the ranks once again, players are playing with passion and the owners know what they’re doing. It’s just a pity the Reds had to suffer through so much incompetence before the good times came back to Anfield.