Defining Moments of Liverpool’s Title Winning Season
While it may have long felt inevitable to many, it took until last weekend for Liverpool to finally win their first Premier League title, their nineteenth top-flight title, and their first for thirty years. It has been a fantastic season that looked in doubt due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, in the end, the league restarted, Liverpool defeated Crystal Palace, Manchester City lost to Chelsea, and the Reds are now champions.
Here we will look back at some of the defining moments from the season that culminated in Liverpool’s fantastic victory.
A Strong Opening Performance
In recent years, too many times have Liverpool and the team’s fans been full of optimism heading into a new season only to be almost immediately disappointed. From Brendan Rodgers’ first game in charge of the team, where West Bromwich Albion humiliated them, to the season after their second place finish under Rafa Benitez, where Tottenham Hotspur quickly overcame them, the team always seems to struggle just when things were beginning to look positive.
Therefore, it must have been a huge relief when they started this season with a strong 4 – 1 win over Norwich. Fans were already optimistic after the team finished second last season with a fantastic number of points, and things got off to a promising start.
An Important Minute Against Chelsea
Liverpool started the season extremely well with straightforward victories over teams including Arsenal, Burnley and Newcastle. However, when they were playing at Stamford Bridge, the outcome of the game looked precarious for one insane minute. It seemed that Chelsea had equalised, but the next thing they knew, the Blues were two goals down.
Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to score for Chelsea, but the goal was cancelled by VAR, which ruled it offside from far earlier in the build-up. Liverpool then took the ball up to the other end, won a free kick, and slotted in their second goal of the game.
A Little Help from Manchester United
While Manchester United and Liverpool may be bitter rivals, unfortunately for United fans there is little doubt that one of their players helped secure the Reds title for them. Dean Henderson has enjoyed a fantastic season on loan at Sheffield United, but it was his error that allowed Gini Wijnaldum’s shot to get past him and into the net. It proved to be the only goal of the game, but it was enough to secure Liverpool the points.
James Milner’s Calm and Collected Penalty
Leicester City were proving a real challenge for Liverpool at Anfield but in the end, the game was the start of a trend for Liverpool. Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the game and James Milner stepped up to take it in style. It proved to be the first of many late winners for the Reds over the course of the season.
Lallana Continues the Unbeaten Run
When Liverpool travelled to face Manchester United in the middle of October, they had won every single match. While it was inevitable that they would lose at some point, it was obvious that it was something the team were keen to avoid.
Manchester United were winning the game but continuing in the tradition of late goals, Adam Lallana appeared at the far post to score a late equaliser and ensure that Liverpool’s unbeaten run would continue.
Son Heung-Min Misses an Easy Goal
Tottenham Hotspur were winning against Liverpool before the reds managed to turn the game around and win 2 – 1 at Anfield. However, the comeback could have been made even harder if Son Heung-min had not missed an apparently easy chance to score after going round goalkeeper Alisson. That said, he missed the goal and Liverpool seized the momentum to take the lead and claim all three points.
Amazing Late Goals Against Aston Villa
We’ve already noted that Liverpool have a tendency towards late winners and that was perhaps epitomised in their game at Villa Park where they scored two goals in the last three minutes. Both Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane headed home goals to change the score line from 1 – 0 to Aston Villa to a 2 – 1 victory for Liverpool in the game’s dying moments.
Defeating Manchester City in November
When Manchester City headed to Anfield in November, Liverpool had won every home game and drawn just once away, and many were saying that it was a must-win game for City. However, any hopes City had were quickly put to rest as Liverpool scored two goals within the opening 15 minutes. In the end, the Reds won 3 – 1 with an amazing goal from range from Fabinho, and Liverpool’s position as favourites was solidified.
Mane Takes Everton to Pieces
Up next was the Merseyside Derby, which is always a challenge. However, Everton were in the final phase of their time with Marco Silva and were far from their best. Meanwhile, Liverpool had a very much in-form Sadio Mane on side. Over the course of the 5 – 2 victory, Mane contributed two assists and one goal, and Silva got the sack.
Overcoming A Busy Schedule
In the middle of December, Liverpool had to travel halfway around the globe to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup and there were concerns that they would be tired and vulnerable upon their return. However, Liverpool soon put any such fears to rest, defeating Leicester City 4 – 0 on Boxing Day with an exceptional performance from Trent Alexander-Arnold. In doing so, they not only reaffirmed their dominance, but also put an end to Leicester’s own title hopes.
VAR Comes to the Rescue
VAR is not without controversy and Liverpool relied upon extremely small margins in their 1 – 0 win over Wolverhampton just before the start of the year. Two VAR calls went Liverpool’s way in the game. Mane’s goal was counted after an initial claim of handball against Adam Lallana was dismissed, and then Neto’s strike was ruled out for offside.
A Number of Unlikely Misses
While there is no doubt that the Liverpool defence is extremely impressive, there have been a huge number of missed opportunities at key moments in games, which could have taken points from the Reds. In January alone, there were plenty of examples. When Liverpool faced Tottenham Hotspur, Giovani Lo Celso missed a chance late in the game from just two yards, which would have equalised the match. Next Anthony Martial looked set to score for Manchester United at Anfield, only to hit the ball over the bar instead of equalising the game. Finally, Diogo Jota missed a chance and sent the ball over the bar for Wolverhampton from just a few yards out rather than make the match 2 – 2 in its final moments.
Salah’s Goal Against Manchester United
In the same game as that saw Anthony Martial send the ball over the bar, Mohamed Salah scored a goal that convinced Liverpool fans that the league title was theirs. Alisson passed the ball downfield to Salah who then kept his cool to defeat the defence and David de Gea, leading to chants of “We’re gonna win the league” from the Liverpool fans.
Alisson’s Brilliant Save at Norwich
Norwich gave Liverpool a tough time at Carrow Road and in the end it was Sadio Mane who scored the winner to secure a 1 – 0 victory. However, things were almost very different. Alisson produced an incredible save when Norwich were two-on-one against him. He stood his ground and then picked the perfect moment to dive and palm away a ball that otherwise would have left Norwich with an open goal.
Lukasz Fabianski’s Panic
Liverpool were not playing particularly well against West Ham at Anfield, but they produced two goals in the last twenty minutes after mistakes from Lukasz Fabianski to secure the three points. The worst of Fabianski’s mistakes was allowing through a shot from Salah that somehow made it past the goalkeeper’s hands and feet to cross the line.
Milner Gets Things Back on Track
Liverpool inevitably suffered a mid-season dip. They lost to Watford and then were knocked out of the FA Cup. The team needed to turn things around and managed to do exactly that with a comeback 2 – 1 win against Bournemouth. However, much of that comeback can be attributed to James Milner who ran back and cleared a lobbed shot off the line.
Overcoming Crystal Palace After the Restart
When the Premier League restarted after the three-month break caused by the coronavirus, Liverpool started with a rather uninspired draw away at Everton. However, their first game back at Anfield was an entirely different story. Salah, Mane and Firmino were all at their best and the team enjoyed a 4 – 0 victory over their visitors. It left them needing just two more points to secure the title for the first time in three decades.
Chelsea Defeat Manchester City to End the Title Race
In the end it was Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Willian who secured Liverpool the title as they both scored to secure a 2 – 1 win for Chelsea against Manchester City, the day after Liverpool had defeated Palace. It meant that City could no longer catch up to Liverpool and Liverpool’s title dreams finally became a reality.