It is undoubtedly a difficult time for the world at present moment. Waxing lyrical about Bill Shankly’s brilliant quotes, well, can be left for another day.
Football rightly takes a backseat as the world tackles the pandemic that is affecting everyone, but we cannot help but ponder how the recent suspension of the Premier League will affect Liverpool’s almost-completed-title-quest.
As Liverpool’s excruciating wait for the Premier League title stretches on, we have decided to take a look at five of the most unfortunate moments the Reds had suffered in recent years.
Update: Football is back, but so is VAR. How high will VAR rank in this list?
5. Football catches coronavirus
COVID-19 – it was the ultimate curveball that was sent hurling towards Anfield which threw every single script out of the window.
Liverpool are two victories away from their first league title in 30 years, sitting on a surely unassailable 25-point lead ahead of Manchester City.
The Champions League elimination against Atletico Madrid also meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side can shift all his resources and focus to clinch the elusive title, giving the Champions Wall in Anfield a nice refurbishment.
Six more points from a possible 27, surely no one can take the glory away from the Reds this season?
But the chance for Jurgen Klopp’s men to write their way into the history books is being denied in dramatically unfortunate circumstances now – and for two weeks at least – the Reds fans will be wondering what they have done to earn such horrible luck.
No one could have expected the current situation. The coronavirus has forced football across all the major leagues in the world to come to a grinding halt – and again, rightly so – leaving everyone involved in an unprecedented situation.
Football is still obviously the least of the concerns in the grand scale of things, but it is surely a misfortune that will leave everyone on the red corner of Merseyside dumb-founded.
4. Signing of Loris Karius
This one was never meant to turn out the way it did. Except it did.
The story of the young German goalkeeper signing for Liverpool after building a huge reputation for himself in the Bundesliga with Mainz 05 was met with proper excitement.
Fans were perhaps enthused largely due to the fact that Simon Mignolet was far from convincing, but also because Karius had made his debut at just aged 19 and went on to establish himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the German league, finishing just behind Manuel Neuer as the best goalkeeper in the 2015/16 season.
So when Karius arrived at Anfield to displace the erratic Mignolet, little did the Reds fans expect the nightmare they were about to witness – a series of very unfortunate goalkeeping mishaps. The blonde hair shot stopper was highly inconsistent in his first season at Anfield, with a string of errors in early December forcing Klopp to drop him from the starting eleven – and casting some doubts on his abilities.
Remember the disastrous goal-kick he took against Sunderland? That was the first warning sign which we all were perhaps guilty of overlooking.
The German then failed to impress in the following season either. In one of his more high profile errors, he somehow allowed a Aleksandar Kolarov shot from distance to squirm through his hands during the pulsating Champions League semi-final tie against AS Roma. Liverpool went on to win the tie, but that was clearly warning sign number two.
Then the biggest nightmare struck. It was strike three, and Karius’ inexplicable performance against Real Madrid that night on the biggest stage in club football saw him eventually cement his exit out of the club.
His blunders saw Liverpool missed out on the European crown in the cruellest of fashion, and he eventually left the pitch in tears. No one would have expected this ending when he was first signed a couple of seasons ago, but it is indeed an unfortunate story for the current Besiktas man who must be wondering how it all went so wrong.
3. Pepe Reina and his beach ball
Thiery Henry’s wonder-strike against Manchester United, Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick in the Manchester Derby and Darren Bent’s goal against Liverpool in the 2009 season – they are all iconic moments that will live forever in Premier League’s history and can certainly be never ever recreated.
Ok, so the third moment did not involve as much skill or footballing brilliance to execute, but it will live long in the memories of Liverpool fans (and Reina).
The score was 0-0, an innocuous shot was heading towards Reina at the Stadium of Light. The Spaniard looked all set to gather the ball in what would be a decent save, but a Liverpool beach ball found its way onto the pitch, standing in the way of the (actual) ball - which then took a massive deflection.
The game finished 1-0 to Sunderland, and quite frankly it is one of things that happened which meant Liverpool were never ever going to get anything away from the match anyway.
Lady Luck was clearly AWOL for the Reds that day, but you will also have to feel for Bent – whose other 178 league goals will be forever overshadowed by this fortuitous moment.
2. 97 points, and somehow still not enough
Manchester City claimed the 2018/2019 league title on the final day of the season with a 4-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, ending the campaign with just a solitary point above Liverpool. The Seagulls even took the lead that day, providing the Reds fans a glimmer of hope that they can finally witness their team lift the most trophy they have all been waiting for.
But it was Vincent Kompany’s brilliant strike against Leicester City that all but confirmed before the final day of the season that the title was staying at the blue side of Manchester. It was a stupendous effort from the captain, a perfect way to end his astounding career he carved in England.
More remarkably, let’s not forget that Klopp’s men amassed a whopping 97 points that season, a point tally that would see them be crowned champions of England in all the seasons bar one – where Pep Guardiola’s side achieved a remarkable century of points in the 2017/2018 season.
There was a sense that the narrative of the league title and Liverpool that season was almost one of those Hollywood star-crossed love stories, whose relationship was ultimately thwarted by the once-in-a-lifetime achievement by Manchester City.
1. Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip
Slips on the football pitch on most days are meant to be innocuous, harmless occurrences that happen once in a while. Even in the worst situations it might cause you to misplace a pass, or perhaps lose your balance and fall embarrassingly in front of 50,000 odd people – not quite a big deal. Life still goes on, right?
Unfortunately for Gerrard, his illustrious career will always have a little scar no thanks to that unfortunate slip in 2014 against Chelsea. With three games left in the season, Liverpool were well in control of the title race and a draw would have been a good result against the Blues.
But it was not meant to be, as Liverpool fell 2-0 against a Jose Mourinho side in one of the most unfortunate of ways possible.
It was supposed to be a turn which Gerrard could easily execute on a football pitch, even in his sleep. But when Mamadou Sakho laid the ball to him and about three seconds later Demba Ba found the net, the captain must have felt his world crashing down around him.
He must have known that when his right stud glided across the surface of the pitch, it might prove to be a significant moment in the season – and boy it did – with Liverpool eventually narrowly missing out on the elusive title. It is heartbreak for the Scouser, who is adamant that the moment still haunts him to this very day.
He obviously still went on to enjoy a career which 95 percent of footballers will struggle to emulate, but the songs, gifs, and even merchandises on that incident will serve as pretty distressing memories for everyone at Liverpool, and especially so for one of the all-time Liverpool greats.