Liverpool is the most successful English football club in history. the winners of 45 major trophies. But as the Telegraph’s Merseyside football reporter Chris Bascombe writes in his introduction to this personalized gift book, theirs is a “golden but traumatic story”. Despite all the memorable triumphs on the pitch, the club have suffered tragedies.
The first of Liverpool’s 19 league titles came in 1901 and this book – the perfect gift for any fan – traces their history from that year. Articles reproduced from the Telegraph archives, including match reports and iconic images, record the highs of six European Cup victories and the lows of Heysel and Hillsborough. It’s a story like no other.
Order now for £63 and save 10% when you use the code LIVERPOOL10 when paying. RRP £70. Free standard delivery included.
- Recipient’s name engraved in silver on the front cover
- Personalized message inside title page
- Dimensions: 15″ x 12″
- Dark green leatherette cover
In the 2021-22 season, Liverpool have come two games away from winning an unprecedented treble. The League Cup and FA Cup had already been secured, but Jurgen Klopp’s side were denied the Premier League title by Manchester City in the dying minutes of the season. Six days later, Real Madrid beat them in the Champions League final in Paris.
“The story of a charismatic manager relentlessly pursuing a feat to eclipse all others, inspired by Anfield’s vocal support of a captivating team, is fresh but familiar,” Bascombe notes of the remarkable campaign, establishing a parallel between the current Liverpool manager and the man who originally turned a declining force into a great club.
Success under Shankly
Bill Shankly’s contribution to Liverpool is commemorated by the gates bearing his name at the Anfield Road entrance to the stadium and his statue outside the Kop. Yet when he arrived in December 1959 the club were in the old Second Division and 11 months earlier had suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats in their history, losing 2-1 to Worcester City, no -league, in the second round of the FA Cup.
The Scot brought Liverpool back to the Premier League in 1962 and two years later they became champions of England for the sixth time. Twelve months later they beat Leeds United at Wembley to lift the FA Cup for the first time and, by the time Shankly retired after his second FA Cup success, inspired by Kevin Keegan in 1974, the number of titles champion had increased to eight and a first European trophy, the UEFA Cup, had been won in 1973.
Off the pitch. Shankly founded the famous Boot Room at Anfield, where he discussed tactics with his coaches, three of whom – Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Roy Evans – went on to manage the club. He changed the team’s kit to an imposing all-red one and the suggested wording for a sign in the players’ tunnel from “Welcome to Anfield” to “This is Anfield”.
“He’s there to remind our guys who they’re playing for and to remind the opponent who they’re playing against,” he explained of the panel. Inside Anfield, Shankly’s message was reinforced every week by 50,000 fans who embraced You will never walk alone as Liverpool’s anthem and made the ground an intimidating cauldron, especially on European nights.
Liverpool conquer Europe
If Shankly had made Liverpool the dominant force in England, then Paisley, who ironically had been reluctant to succeed him as manager, orchestrated their conquest of Europe. In his nine seasons in charge, Liverpool won six league titles, another UEFA Cup, three League Cups and three European Cups – their fans turned the city of Rome red for their crowning glory as kings of Europe against Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1977.
Fagan offered a fourth European Cup in 1984 before Kenny Dalglish, perhaps the best footballer in the club’s history, led them to the Doubles for the only time in 1985-86 as player-manager. Another Scot – the first team Liverpool ever fielded, in 1892, featured 11 Scots – Dalglish was also present on two occasions when tragedy struck the club.
In 1985, he played in the European Cup final against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, where fighting between fans led to the collapse of a wall and the death of 39 supporters of the Italian club. English clubs were banned from European competition for five years and Liverpool were banned for 10 years, which was eventually reduced to six.
On April 15, 1989, Dalglish was manager when 95 Liverpool fans – a number which has since risen to 97 – were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough while attending an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. The darkest day in the club’s history marked the start of a tireless campaign for justice that lasted 27 years before it was ruled that inadequate police and ambulance services had caused the deaths for which initially the authorities and media had wrongly blamed Liverpool. Fans.
Hillsborough understandably took its toll on everyone associated with the club. And while there were still isolated cup triumphs, like the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ in 2005, when Rafael Benitez’s side came from 3-0 down in the Champions League final to beat AC Milan, neither local stars such as Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard, nor a succession of managers such as former captain Graeme Souness, Gerard Houllier or Dalglish could once again generate lasting success.
And then came Klopp, who first made Europe’s club kings for the sixth time in 2019 and then ended another wait that had lasted nearly three decades – for Liverpool to win the Premier League. His team won 26 and drew their first 27 games and won the title with seven games to spare. Win in style. Shankly would no doubt have approved of them reminding the opponent who they were playing against, as only Liverpool can.