Liverpool FansOnline season review Part 4
By Mark Allaway
Wednesday 15 Jul 2009 07:00:00
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Liverpool football club finished the Premiership season as runners-up to Manchester United in the 08/09 season to record their highest league finish for seven years.

Here Liverpool FansOnline reviews the last 12 months of ups and downs at Anfield, and looks back on where the title was lost. Article continues below

Part 4 starts at the beginning of 2009, with the Reds top of the table on 47 points from the 19 games.

The year started well for Rafael Benitez's side away to Preston North End in the third round of the FA Cup, goals from Albert Reira and Fernando Torres setting up a fourth round Merseyside derby later in the month.

However that's where the festive spirit wore off as Liverpool began a streak of four games without a win, including a goalless draw away to Stoke in the Premiership.

The Reds played Everton twice in six days and drew both games, firstly in the Premiership Tim Cahill's late strike cancelled out Steven Gerrard's goal.

Then in the FA Cup at Anfield Joleon Lescott's opener was cancelled out by Steven Gerrard, setting up a replay at Goodison Park in early February.

Yossi Benayoun looked to have given Rafa Benitez's side all three points away at Wigan before Mido struck late on to snatch a point.

This was followed however by another defeat of Chelsea after breaking their unbeaten home record in the reverse fixture earlier in the season- goals from Fernando Torres who was proving his worth to the side.

Dan Gosling struck in the 118th minute of extra time in the Mersey rivals' 4th round FA Cup replay to send the Reds out of their last English cup competition, then the Reds were made to work for three points at Fratton Park in the league.

The Reds came from behind twice to win 3-2 courtesy of Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres to cancel out David Nugent and Hermann Hreidarsson strikes.

February ended in a series of mixed results as Liverpool left Anfield with a point versus Manchester City, Dirk Kuyt cancelling out former Reds striker Craig Bellamy's goal.

Then there were signs of inconsistency as the Reds defeated Real Madrid at the Bernabeau 1-0 thanks to Yossi Benayoun in the Champions League, but lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough in the league.

Suddenly once again the Reds hit top form, winning five games in a row and scoring 16 goals in that time.

First was an un-spectacular 2-0 win over Sunderland at Anfield, goals from David Ngog and Benayoun, then the home leg of the Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

Defending a slender 1-0 win Liverpool were thought to be in for a tense defensive night- and yet thrashed the Spaniards 4-0, thanks to Fernando Torres, a brace from Steven Gerrard and Andreas Dossena.

Brimming with confidence the side then travelled to Old Trafford and beat the Champions 4-1, again Torres, Gerrard and Dossena were on the score sheet and were joined by Fabio Aurelio's fine lob, and all this despite going behind to a Christiano Ronaldo penalty.

Another impressive result followed with a 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa, Dirk Kuyt, Albert Reira and a hat-trick from Steven Gerrard grabbing the points and plaudits.

Yossi Benayoun kept the momentum going with a 90th minute winner at Craven Cottage, before the Reds crashed versus Chelsea in the Champions League, losing the home leg 3-1, Torres' 6th minute opener ruled out by goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Didier Drogba.

The Reds were a wounded animal against Blackburn upon their return and demolished Rovers 4-0, Torres bagging a brace, and Daniel Agger and David Ngog getting on the score sheet.

Then faced with mission impossible Liverpool and Chelsea produced a thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, a result that sent the Reds out of Europe but after a titanic effort.

Liverpool were 2-0 up, making the scores level on aggregate, thanks to Fabio Aurelio and Xabi Alonso.

Then a mistake by Jose Reina let Chelsea back into the game, followed by a thumping effort by Alex, Frank Lampard's goal then put Chelsea in the driving seat until goals from Lucas and Dirk Kuyt were sending the Reds through.

But Lampard struck again a minute from time to send the Blues through after an enthralling counter.

The Reds somehow had enough energy left to produce another 4-4 thriller against Arsenal at Anfield a week later, Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin hitting four for the visitors, Torres (2) and Benayoun (2) hit back for the Reds.

Liverpool then went to the KC stadium and avenged the earlier home draw by beating the Tigers 3-1, Geovanni for the home side, Xabi Alonso and a Dirk Kuyt brace for the Reds.

Vanquished Newcastle were defeated 3-0 by Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt and Lucas before West Ham were beaten by the same score line, a Steven Gerrard brace and Ryan Babel's goal securing the points.

Relegated West Brom were beaten 2-0 at the Hawthorns, Gerrard and Kuyt again the scorers, before the Reds finished up the season by beating Tottenham at Anfield 3-1, Fernando Torres, an Alan Hutton own goal and Benayoun for the home side, cancelling out Robbie Keane's goal on his Anfield return.

And so Liverpool had pushed hard, their best league finish for seven years in fact, but had finished four points behind Manchester United who were crowned champions, the Reds left to rue the new year period and those frustrating goalless draws.

Final league Position: 2nd, 88 points from 38 games

Top scorer: Gerrard 23

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