How have Liverpool’s last five managers first full season in charge gone?

Gérard Houllier (1999-2004)

After being joint manager alongside Roy Evans in 1998-99 Houllier’s first full season in charge was a massive improvement on the seventh place finish that Liverpool managed the previous season. The season was up and down as the players had to adapt to Houllier’s playing style and a number of decent first team signings made fans optimistic before the season. However four losses in the first ten games didn’t make for good reading for the fans as Liverpool sat in a mediocre eleventh place. Early domestic cup exits at the hands of Blackburn and Southampton meant Liverpool could focus on the league and everything was seemingly going well with the team in second place after 32 games. At the end of the season inexplicably the team suffered a five game streak without a win which took them from second to fourth, which made them qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Honours

FA Cup

2x League Cup

FA Community Shield

UEFA Cup

UEFA Super Cup

Rafa Benítez (2004-2010)

This is probably Liverpool’s best season in the last 20 years, despite an average showing in the league. Come December the season didn’t look to be anything special, until the 8th when a special moment in Anfields history lead to the greatest Champions League final of all time, more on that later. The special moment which I am speaking of is two goals in the last ten minutes of our games against Olympiacos, the second being an absolute screamer from our very own Steven Gerrard. With the team finishing fifth in the league all hope rested on our cup runs, a home defeat to Burnley in the FA Cup wasn’t enjoyable viewing. However the League Cup and Champions League were more pleasant, withLiverpool facing off against Chelsea in the final, a game which we looked to be winning until Gerrard placed a header into his own net. Meaning we had to settle for the runners-up medal. We met with Chelsea again the semi-final of the Champions League, with Luis Garcia scoring the only goal over two legs, which 100% crossed the line.

What happened in the final will go down in history, 3-0 down at half time, one week after my 9th birthday I was in tears at half time. Little did I know what would occur in the second half, all I know is it was glorious. 3-3 at full time and heroics from Jerzy Dudek brought the CL trophy back to Anfield for the fifth time. Despite the league, this season can only go down as a success.

Honours

FA Cup

FA Community Shield

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Super Cup

Roy Hodgson (2010-2011)

After an extremely successful tenure as manager of Fulham, Hodgson was brought to Anfield. This move can only be described as a mistake.  In the relegation zone after nine games is abysmal for Liverpool, knocked out of the League Cup at home by Northampton town, scraping past Sparta Prague in the Europa League and sat in twelfth in the League Hodgson’s short term as manager of Liverpool was cut short.

Honours

N/A

Kenny Dalglish (2011-2012)

After taking over from Hodgson the previous season Dalglish had a full summer to implement his own playing style and bring in his own players (it is worth noting that both Ibe and Ojo were signed when he was manager). As has been the case for most seasons in the last ten years the showing in the league was average, at best. However Dalglish is the only manager from our last three who has managed to bring any silverware to Anfield. As well as finishing as the runner-up in the FA Cup, although I still think Andy Carroll’s header went over the line, which would have took the game to extra-tim.

Honours

League Cup

Brendan Rodgers (2012-2015)

When Dalglish was sacked I have to admit I was shocked, having won a trophy and there were some promising parts in the league. But it happened and at the time I was very optimistic and I was looking forward to seeing how we would perform under Rodgers, given how well his Swansea team had played. But, once more an average 7th place finish in the league (the highest position we reached during the season was 6th) and early exits in both domestic competitions as well as the Europa League meant this could only be seen as a season of transition. The following season was much happier viewing despite the extremely depressing end.

Honours

N/A


Klopp’s first full season has just begun, let’s hope he becomes an Anfield hero. Only time will tell.

Written by @LiamGrimshaw

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