Liverpool FC were founded in 1892 and won their first title in 1900-01. Back-to-back titles were achieved in 1922 & 1923 but further trophies didn’t arrive until 1947. 1959 saw Liverpool appoint Bill Shankley as their manager, he took Liverpool from the Second Division to 3 League Championships, 2 FA Cups and a UEFA Cup before his retirement in 1974. Bob Paisley took over and was even more successful winning an incredible 21 trophies in his 9 years in charge including 3 European Cups and 6 League titles. The 1980′s were a mixture of success and disaster. Liverpool won several trophies but their glory was overshadowed by 2 separate disasters; Heysel and Hillsborough. The early 80′s saw more on-field success for Liverpool but this era would be remembered for an incident off the field that happened during the 1985 European Cup Final against Juventus. Despite this Liverpool went onto to further domestic success in the late 1980′s under player-manager Kenny Dalglish, until disaster struck for a second time in 4 years when in 1989 an incident that would be know as ‘The Hillsborough Disaster’ happened at Sheffield Wednesday’s football stadium.
The 1985 European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus was due to take place at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium. Just before kick-off Liverpool fans managed to breach a fence which separated the two sets of supporters and a wave of Liverpool fans charged at the Juventus fans. This rush of people was too much weight for a retaining wall and it collapsed killing 39 fans, most of whom were Italian. Unbelievably the match went ahead and Liverpool lost 1-0. As a result of this tragedy English clubs were banned from competing in European competition for five years; with Liverpool receiving a ten-year ban which was later reduced to six.
In 1989 Liverpool were involved in a second footballing disaster, this time at Sheffield Wednesdays Hillsborough football stadium, during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Seven minutes in to the match Liverpool fans began to pour onto the pitch. The stand was overflowing and it was clear that there were too many fans for the stand to hold. 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death against perimeter fencing. This disaster changed football stadiums in the UK forever as standing terraces were replaced with all-seated areas and barriers were removed from the from of stands.
The final between Liverpool and AC Milan was held at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, and will be remembered as one of the greatest of all-time. On route to the final Liverpool beat Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea. They went into the match as under-dogs and Milan were living up to their favourites tag as they led Liverpool 3-0 at half-time. Everybody though it was over, including the AC Milan players, but in a stunning comeback Liverpool scored 3 goals in six minutes to level the match 3-3. A penalty shoot-out was required to separate the teams, and with the score 3-2 to Liverpool Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty to win Liverpool their fifth European Cup.
While Liverpool remain one of the top teams in the Premier League they are currently going through something of a transition period. Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2012 and has tried to return the club to it’s former glory but it’s clearly going to take time as the team has been plagued by inconsistent performances and is struggling to even mount a push for a top-four finish. There have been promising signs but a trophy haul seems a long way off at this point and the people of Liverpool are unlikely to be enjoying any open-top bus parades any time soon. But hey, at least they’ve got the Grand National 2013 at Aintree to look forward to!
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