Liverpool’s 2018/19 campaign has finally been put to bed after a long and ultimately successful season that began on July 7 last summer with a thumping 7-0 away win against Chester.
The Reds fell agonisingly short of the Premier League title after amassing a staggering 97 points, with eventual winners Manchester City just pipping them to the post on the final day, but took home the Champions League trophy for the first time in fourteen years after edging out Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid.
It was a season that threw up a host of memorable highlights and fewer negative moments than in years gone by (lack of title win aside). Going through every air-punching moment of the campaign could take hours, so we’ve taken a look at just a few pivotal instances for Jurgen Klopp’s side that helped define our season, for better or for worse.
In no particular order, here are the first five of our ten key points in Liverpool’s 2018/19 season.
1. Alisson’s match-winning save against Napoli
A goal in the 34th minute at Anfield from Mohamed Salah was enough to beat Napoli and see the Reds through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but the outcome could have been very different if it wasn’t for Alisson Becker. The Brazilian made himself big to deny Arkadiusz Milik an injury-time equaliser that would have dumped the Reds from the competition. It wasn’t the only miraculous save the Liverpool goalkeeper pulled off last season, but it may have been his most important one.
2. Salah’s confidence-building hat-trick against Bournemouth
Mo Salah struggled to replicate his outrageous 2017/18 form in the opening months of the new campaign, scoring nine goals in 21 matches in all competitions. The Egyptian was visibly wrestling with the considerable weight of expectation on his shoulders and by December was enduring the second of three significant goal droughts he experienced throughout the season. However, a thrilling hat-trick against Eddie Howe’s side proved to be the springboard the No.11 needed, and was followed by a run of 8 goals and 3 assists in the next 12 matches as he helped keep the club firmly in the title race.
3. Gomez’s injury and Matip’s resurgence
Gomez picked up a serious leg injury against Burnley on December 5 and was ruled out for the majority of the season, making a return to first-team action in late April. The young centre-back had started the season in fine form alongside Virgil van Dijk as the pair formed a formidable partnership in front of the Liverpool goal. His loss was expected to be a major blow to Jurgen Klopp’s side and many feared the Reds’ defensive stability would falter. In his absence, however, Joel Matip came to the fore and became one of Liverpool’s standout performers in the second half of the season, doing enough to reportedly earn a new contract at the club and potentially impact on how Michael Edwards approached his transfer business in the summer.
4. Title-defining loss to Manchester City
At the turn of the year, Liverpool were top of the table and seven points clear of Manchester City. Things were looking good for Klopp’s side; fans and pundits alike were already talking of a long-awaited Premier League title win, though the manager and players refused to be drawn on it. Unfortunately, a 2-0 loss at the Etihad courtesy of Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane cut the Reds’ lead at the top to just four points when ten could have been unassailable. It was Liverpool’s first and only Premier League loss of the season and ultimately had a major impact on the outcome of the title race.
5. Origi’s last-gasp Derby winner
Everton fans were already beginning to celebrate a famous away point at Anfield in the 232nd Merseyside Derby back in December, and jeered when Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed shot ballooned into the air in the 96th minute. However, their mockery soon turned to despair as a mistake from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saw the dropping ball come off the crossbar and onto the head of substitute Divock Origi, who scored to win the game in the dying seconds. Cue Jurgen Klopp charging onto the pitch to celebrate wildly with Alisson Becker as Anfield erupts around him.
We’ll follow up with part two tomorrow.