On this day nine years ago, Liverpool Football Club suffered one of the most humiliating defeats of its history. But — frankly — I don’t want to talk about that.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple really. I’m terrified that the simple act of researching the dark day in question will cause me to fall into a deep state of depression from which I may never recover.
So, I’ll give it a miss, and only reference the memories of it that I, sadly, have been unable to repress.
I am, of course, referring to the time that minnows Blackpool — in the early stages of their one and only Premier League season — came to Anfield and won 2-1. Even typing that sentence made my skin crawl.
It was the perfect example of the state of the club at that time, and how everything was going wrong. Fernando Torres limped off with an injury early in the game, Glen Johnson gave away a penalty, Charlie Adam scored it, Luke Varney doubled the lead. The Kop cried for Kenny.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos was Liverpool’s only goalscorer on the day, and even he was rubbish. This was a club completely unrecognisable from the one that had dominated domestic and European football in the 1970s and ’80s, and had won their fifth Champions League crown only five years earlier.
This was a club in severe, debilitating decline. Under the management of Roy Hodgson on the pitch — and Tom Hicks and George Gillett off it — Liverpool FC was fading into footballing anonymity.
Fast-forward nine years and the Reds are riding high as reigning European champions and are sat atop the Premier League after winning each of their opening seven matches. The club boasts one of the best managers in its history in Jürgen Klopp and can call some of the world’s finest players its own.
Something of a minor miracle has happened at Anfield.
Now, THAT is what I want to talk about. In less than a decade we have gone from consistent misery and failure to finally being able to dream of a period of domestic and continental domination once again.
Even after everything that has happened to this club in the Premier League era — the highs and the lows — I sometimes feel that we take for granted the privileges that being a Liverpool supporter offers. The turnaround and progress made isn’t fully appreciated.
But this is a club whose manager said, on this very day nine years ago after the loss to Blackpool, that he was “absolutely convinced Liverpool would not be in the bottom three at the end of the season”.
I wanted Hodgson sacked there and then, to be honest. I still feel Christian Purslow — managing director at the time — should have barged into that press conference, grabbed ‘Woy’ by the ear and thrown him out onto Walton Breck Road with his P45 in tow.
I appreciate that the Reds were in the relegation zone at the time, and that both results and performances had been dreadful. But the manager of a club with such stature in the game and with a rich, celebrated history should never even entertain the idea of relegation from the top division.
Alas, another three months passed before the fans finally got their wish and ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish stepped in to steady the ship.
The process since has been a struggle at times, but we have been rewarded for our patience and loyalty. Liverpool FC truly dines at the top table once again — and I love it.
But I still think it is important, on days like today, to remember the progress that has been made and give thanks to those who have made it possible.
FSG — though not always celebrated — saved us from certain ruin. Sir Kenny Dalglish steadied a rolling ship. Brendan Rodgers made us dream again and Jürgen Klopp has delivered us once again to the promised land.
On behalf of Liverpool supporters the world over, thank you to one and all.