Liverpool's Recent History
Liverpool are on the brink of success. Their supporters know it and for the first time in many years - it is not the hollow, "This year is our year" as the usual chant is conspicuously lost to building optimism and we will attempt to look at the changing times and fortunes at the Kop.
Rewind your clocks a decade and a half back and it was good old Rafa Benitez, who had been chosen by the board, to guide Liverpool back to Champions League football after the unceremonious exit of Frenchman Gerard Houllier with chief executive Rick Parry mentioning to the press, "somebody who can take us from where we are to be realistic contenders for the title" in a crisp criticism of Houllier.
Rafael Benitez would lead the club for a tenure of six years, same as his predecessor did, but fail to deliver the title even after becoming massively popular at the Kop and delivering the Champions League to Liverpool in an astonishing night in Istanbul in 2005.
Very few would have given Liverpool a chance at being European winners after AC Milan had a 3-0 lead at halftime with the dominant side from Italy boasting the likes of Pirlo, Gattuso, Kaka and Seedorf in midfield and a defence that had Maldini, Nesta, Stam and Cafu. Yet, Liverpool came back to level the tie in the second half and win it on penalties.
Liverpool had their moments of glory with Rafa winning the FA Cup the following year but trophies became hard to come by from then on. Roy Hodgson, Rafa's successor, had an unsuccessful one year stint and was replaced by club icon Kenny Dalglish. In his second spell at the Kop, the player-manager won the League Cup.
This was too less a return for a manager who had signed Andy Carroll for £35m plus add-ons from Newcastle and Luis Suarez for £22.8m from Ajax in the same year, albeit in the January transfer window. King Kenny was always going to leave as he was meant to be a short-term solution only but Brendan Rodgers failed to deliver a single trophy in his three-year spell with the Steven Gerrard slip, still haunting the Liverpool faithful, happening in his reign.
Jurgen Klopp was signed next for a three-year contract. He had managed to wrest away the champions tag from Bayern Munich and win it with Borussia Dortmund, a feat considered to be punching way above their weight in the Bundesliga. The German was expected to do similar disruptions in England.
Klopp may not have won anything in his three year reign so far and only managed to make it to the final of a League Cup domestically and to the finals of the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Champions League but no one can argue that Liverpool have the second best odds and are closest to winning the title after Manchester City having upgraded with intent over the summer and are just a number ten away from genuine title aspirations.
Liverpool have changed from simmering discontent under Houllier to blind self-entitlement over the past few years to casual optimism under Klopp. As another new season starts for the Reds against West Ham this Sunday, let's take a look back at their opening day results over the last decade: