Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Glory Days

When Liverpool upset Chelsea a couple of weeks or so ago, a lot of Chelsea fans in India may have been a little disappointed, but my brother was pretty happy about it. To him, once upon a time, Liverpool was the ultimate English football club and in fact one of the very best anywhere. Obviously, it's a reflection of the times when he grew up, a time when Liverpool dominated England and was a force in Europe. I remember some of the earliest issues of sports magazines I bought (The Sportstar, to be specific) - the celebrations of Liverpool's FA cup triumph over Everton (who had Lineker) and other such with men like Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Steve Nicol and Jan Molby still around. Then came Heysel. Liverpool has never been the same. Being ostracized from European competition obviously hurt all English clubs, but Liverpool also declined at home. They did have the odd success, but that was about it. The UEFA win over Alaves in 2001, for one (hell of an entertaining game that was). The last six years or so have seen a gradual revival, starting in the days under Gerard Houllier and not surprisingly, coinciding with emergence of Michael Owen, among others. Somehow, amid the sporadic success, Liverpool have not managed to challenge powerhouses Man United and Arsenal. Now they have the opportunity to relive the glory days of the '80s by bringing home the Champions League trophy. That would make the old faithful more than happy, even given the disappointing domestic season. - NK

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