Carling Cup 2012, the last piece of silverware the Reds have managed to get their hands on.

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Five years without a trophy, for a team who has five Champions League’s alone, is not the required level the club should be at, especially considering the dizzy heights achieved in the past.

Two clubs who have endured rather torrid seasons are Arsenal and Manchester United, yet; they both ended the season with silverware- something Liverpool failed to do.

Having missed out on the Champions league, both clubs made it imperative that the least they could achieve was winning at least one trophy.

The Gunners added another FA Cup to their collection, to make them the most successful team in the competition’s history.

Whereas, Man United managed to prize two trophies. The first being the Capital One Cup, which was followed up by success in Stockholm,  as they won the Europa League.

Despite playing the superior football over the two clubs this season and finishing in the top four, is a trophy-less season with Champions League more of a success than a Europe-free but trophy winning campaign?

Success of clubs is almost always defined by silverware. So what does that say about the Reds after a dry spell filled with disappointment, disbelief, and discomfort?

Liverpool have been close on many occasions in recent times in finding success, but no one remembers second place.

Three months on from defeating Cardiff City on penalties in the Capital One Cup final 2012, the Reds had the chance to add an eighth FA Cup to the club’s history.  The final ended in pain however, as Chelsea defeated King Kenny’s Reds 2-1, a game in which Andy Carroll had a late effort scrambled off the line, which would have seen the match head into extra time.

2012/13 saw two fourth round exits in both cups. League One Oldham shocked the country as they won 3-2, in what was a day to forget.  Similarly, Swansea were 3-1 winners at Anfield in the Carling Cup. There was further cup disappointment to follow this too as the Reds crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg.

Two Luis Suarez free kick goals at Anfield were not enough to see Liverpool advance to the round of 16, as the tie ended 3-3, with Zenit progressing on away goals.

The 2013/14 season will forever be remembered as the ‘nearly, but not quite season’ more than any other.  This was the year where the mid table side from the previous campaign turned Premier League title chasers.

I am sure no Liverpool fan needs reminding of the heartbreak endured, the Premier League trophy so nearly etched in the Reds’ history. This wasn’t the way things turned out however.

With a five point lead installed with three games to go, few could see room for the celebrations to be put on hold.  But, the inability to see out games and lack of concentration cost Brendan Rodgers’ side dearly.

The infamous ‘slip’, paired with ‘Crystanbul’, two things with the capacity to make supporters of the club feel uneasy, as they relive the unforgiving nature of the league.

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The SAS were firing on all cylinders, penetrating defence’s week in, week out.  Perhaps, one of the most enjoyable times to ever watch Liverpool play.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this was the best chance the club has had to bring the Premier League to Anfield, but a season filled with highs, ended with harrowing lows as Manchester City swooped from behind to claim the title.

The following season, (2014/15) Luis Suarez left for bigger things as Barcelona came calling, which meant there was to be no such title challenge this time around.  But, there were two semi-final appearances for the club, in the FA and Capital One Cup.

In what was Steven Gerrard’s last season at the club, the Reds were hoping to go out in style, leaving the skipper with a parting gift, the only thing the team could present Gerrard with were two cup departures.

Goals from Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph for Aston Villa cancelled out an early Philippe Coutinho goal and sent the Reds packing in the FA cup.

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Similarly, in the Capital One cup, Liverpool fell at the crucial moment at the hands of Chelsea.  A Branislav Ivanovic extra time winner the difference between the two sides over the two legs, following a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Last season, (15/16) the campaign in which Jürgen Klopp was brought to the club, following Rodgers’ departure, was so nearly the perfect beginning for the German.

In his first season, he guided the Reds to two finals. The first of which was the Capital One Cup final.

The desired outcome was not achieved, as Manchester City defeated the Reds on penalties in what was a nail-biting affair.

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Klopp was dealing with a never-ending fixture list thanks to being in the Europa League, a gruelling competition which demands dedication and determination to succeed. In order to achieve this prerequisite, Klopp abandoned the league as the Reds progressed further and further in Europe.

They found themselves into the Europa League final, facing Spanish side, Sevilla. It was no easy ride getting to this point; games along the way included a round of 16 clash against bitter rivals, Manchester United, a breath-taking quarter final against Dortmund, as well as a dramatic semi-final triumph against Villarreal.

As the Reds ended the season in an underwhelming eight position, winning the Europa League was the only way of gaining Champions League qualification. Meaning that the season was hanging in the balance, a win in the final the only option to make the season as a success.

The final started superbly, Daniel Sturridge’s curling effort put Klopp’s side one goal to the good ten minutes before half time. But, a second half collapse saw the game end 3-1.

So, it was another season of wishful thinking for future seasons to come, as fans were left to wallow in self-pity as they saw their beloved club stoop to new lows.

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This year, was Klopp’s first full season in charge, and there were many noticeable improvements this time around.

The acquisition of Sadio Mane proved to be instrumental in the success of the team, as his blistering pace frightened opposition defenders. Reds’ fans were given a glance of just how good he can be on the first day of the season when Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates.

The attacking trident of Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Coutinho was proving to be pivotal in the way the season panned out. The clinical nature of the trio often bailed out the less reliable backline.

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There was talk of another title challenge, similar to that of the 2013/14 season when the Merseyside club found themselves top at the start of November, following a 6-1 drubbing of Watford.

This faded after a horrific January, which saw the Reds collect just one win out of nine games.

They did manage to go on to secure top four this season, after a final day win against Middlesbrough.  Only the second time Liverpool have secured Champions League in the last nine seasons.

A real transformation was observed by supporters of the club this campaign, conversely, it was the same old story in regards to finding silverware.

An embarrassing fourth round defeat at home to Championship side, Wolves, ended FA Cup dreams. In the other domestic cup, it was Southampton who ended the EFL Cup journey.  A dismal two legged affair, where Liverpool had little to offer allowing the Saints to go marching on.

Klopp must find a way to balance the league and cups effectively, in order to obtain a solid finish in the table, but also achieve great things domestically.

It has been far too long without a trophy, for a club that prides itself on its rich heritage.

To fit back into the tag of ‘Europe’s elite’ the Reds must start adding silverware to their name. Winning just one trophy could spark the beginning of another era of dominance.

Liverpool suffered a period of decline from 2010 until 2016, but things are on the up. Klopp is most certainly the right man for the job and is building the start of something special, but what the club needs right now is a taste of the success of old, to remind the fans just how it feels.

The glory days could well be on their way back at Anfield.

Only time will tell.

 

Tom Cavilla

 

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