On the penultimate edition of ETB, we plumb the depths of what I can remember.
It’s been an incredible 9.5 years in my life as a Liverpool fan. From the depths of the Hodgepocalypse to the Phoneix-like re-birth of life under Jurgen Klopp, the time has been a truly fun ride.
So, with the the twilight of my time holding this space, I figured now would be as good a time as any to look back on my favorite moments of the past 9.5 years as a Liverpool fan. Here we go.
9.5. The Raul Meireles Era
There are very few things to come out of the Hodgepocalypse that were positive. One of those things was Raul Meireles. He was a fashion icon. A gritty midfielder. And generally a lot of fun to watch. While a lot of those teams were dire – we did field Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky in that side – Raul Meireles at least brought a bit of steel on the pitch and a lot of verve off of it. I mean, who else can pull off the mohawk+beard combo?
8. Sea Creatures
The pre-Klopp era was filled with fits and starts. The 2011-2012 season wasn’t entirely terrible. The Reds added a trophy to their collection by winning the League Cup during Kenny Dalglish’s full season at the helm. But it also wasn’t great. How do I know? Well, Ed released one of the legendary columns of our time in response to a numbing loss to Newcastle in April of 2012. Feast your eyes on the Sea Creature column.
7. Alberto Moreno
In the words of The Office’s Ryan Howard: I don’t know, I can’t explain it. But also, this moment:
6. Lucas Leiva
It’s hard to explain, I think, to newer fans of the team but Lucas Leiva was such an underrated gift, often played out of position and thus out of favor. Oddly reminiscent of a certain midfielder who maybe hasn’t been out of favor due to being played out of position as much as injury, but still. Lucas would put on these workmanlike performances and, over time, won people over. At one point, Lucas was considered among the best defensive mids in the entire league. That stay at the top was short due to injury, but it truly was a joy to see him make good for us. That he was also a pure delight off the pitch based on his various LFCTV goof spots, made it all the better.
5. Takumi Minamino signs for LFC
Similar to the satisfaction of Lucas finally coming good, this signing materializing seeming out of nowhere was an absolute treat. Minamino made himself a nuisance during Liverpool’s Champions League matches against his team, RB Salzburg. Many saw him as the standout performer both on the pitch and due to his perfectly sculpted cheekbones.
4. Barcelona, Second Leg, at Anfield
This was perhaps the greatest match experience of my life. The opponent – featuring no less than two former Liverpool players who’d forced their way out of the squad in Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. The odds. The occasion. Beating Barcelona in the Champions League is a feat. Doing it in an epic comeback in front of the Kop? Nothing like it. One of the matches I will carry with me my entire life.
3. 2013-2014 Premier League Season
This was the high-water mark for Liverpool in the pre-Jurgen Klopp era. Pushing the title race all the way to the brink, at least two seasons before anyone could reasonably expect them. The drama of all those 1-nil victories to open the season. Daniel Sturridge asserting himself as one of the best pure goalscorers in the world. It was a magical season only slightly marred by coming up inches short.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold
This is a bit of a curveball. Naby Keita is my favorite current player on the squad. But young TAA, a scouser who’d come up through the academy, not only becoming a starter in the squad, but one of the best players in the world is such a special thing. And there’s every reason to believe that, based on all of his interviews and speaking appearances, he’ll remain there. He seems to be a lad who’s mature beyond his years. And happens to have the best right foot in all of England since David Beckham.
1. Daniel Sturridge
Could it really have been anyone else? Sturridge’s mix of technical ability and leadership is pretty rare. When you combine that with a guy who genuinely seemed devoted to Liverpool as a club, along with wearing the responsibility of what it means to wear that badge, I feel that you have the makings of a cult hero. There’s lots of reasons why Sturridge may end up receding in the memories of Liverpool fans over time with his injury record likely to be the biggest of those reasons. But I’ll never forget that header he put in to nab a victory over Manchester United in the beginning of the 2013-2014 season (that it was my first match at a pub has something to do with that). I’ll never forget the videos of him greeting fans with joy as he left Melwood. I’ll never forget the pure and unadulterated joy in my heart when he finally got a Champions League winners medal. It’s rare, I think, when the good guys get what they deserve. Lucas had the League Cup but never got to taste the glory of winning the Premier League or Champions League. Fernando Torres never even got that with Liverpool. Sturridge did. And seeing him celebrate on that bus – especially considering he chipped in with a memorable goal against Paris St. Germain in the group stage of the Champions League – it was a medal well-earned.