We may have ultimately ended the season trophyless but there’s been some memorable performances, goals and achievements from the 08/09 campaign.
Any season which sees just 2 League defeats, a record Premier League points haul and a Champions League quarter final should still be remembered for the right reasons and here we take a look at the, mostly, positives from the season.
LFC Player of the Year
Steven Gerrard may have won the Football Writer’s and Official Website award, but it’s midfield maestro Xabi Alonso who has just beat the Reds skipper in our vote. It certainly was close though, Xabi collecting just 2% more than Gerrard. Dirk Kuyt took a deserved third place.
After two somewhat disappointing campaigns, Alonso’s Anfield future looked over a year ago with the Barry saga, but the Spaniard returned to form in some style this season, anchoring the midfield – particularly in Gerrard’s absence – scoring five goals, claiming five assists and making 40 starts. He became the first name on the teamsheet, and rightly so.
Winner: Xabi Alonso
Runner-Up: Steven Gerrard
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Gerrard Max: Gerrard
LFC Young Player of the Year
This vote wasn’t such a close vote, with full-back Emiliano Insua running away with a massive 86% of the vote. The criteria for inclusion was players aged under 23 and having played in the first team this season. Only Lucas Leiva (7%) gained some recognition.
Insua has impressed with some man of the match winning performances and his form over the festive period, prior to going away with Argentina under-20’s, led to many fans seeing him as a long term solution to a somewhat problematic area in recent years.
Winner: Emiliano Insua
Runner-Up: Lucas Leiva
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Insua Max: Insua
Goal of the Season
There where plenty of contenders for this crown, all of which can be found in our top 10 goals compilation, but the winner was pretty unanimous. Torres’ Van-Basten-like strike against Blackburn was of immense quality. It won the Sky Sports News Goal of the Season, and rightly so.
Winner: Torres v. Blackburn
Runner-Up: Gerrard v. Marseille
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Torres Max: Torres
Best Team Performance
There were two standout entries for this – both within days of each other during March. The 4-0 humbling of illustrious Real Madrid at Anfield, played at a high-tempo where Real literally didn’t have a clue what hit them was one of the best European performances any Liverpool side.
But the winner was the visit to Old Trafford. Maybe because there’s so many bad memories, maybe because we recognise United as being a better team than Real, maybe because we went 1-0 down, maybe because it made us smile seeing their stadium half-empty with 10 minutes remaining. Maybe because it showed Ferguson we’re coming after him and his team. Maybe because it showed Rafa had finally cracked the Premier League. Maybe because of all of these.
Winner: Man United (a) 4-1
Runner-Up: Real Madrid (h) 4-0
Editor’s Choice: Matt: United (a) Max: Real (h)
Best Individual Performance
The winner here was Torres’ hustling, bustling, energetic performance against his home city club and Atletico’s rivals. You could see he was ‘up for it’ from the off and the ankle injury he was struggling with certainly wasn’t on his mind that night. A valiant second was Gerrard’s first Premier League hat-trick against Villa.
Winner: Torres v Real Madrid (h)
Runner-Up: Gerrard v Aston Villa (h)
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Torres Max: Reina v Standard Liege (h)
Most Improved Player
Another category which saw two obvious choices. Both Yossi and Dirk have proved their worth as good quality squad players this season. Neither, in my opinion, would be in a title winning first 11, but both would be in my squad. Yossi no doubt won this as his run of form arrived in the second half of the season, had it been the other way around and Kuyt had ended the season the way he started then he’d have won it. Either way, they are both worthy of high praise for their contributions this season.
Winner: Yossi Benayoun
Runner-Up: Dirk Kuyt
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Kuyt Max: Benayoun
Which player has failed to live up their ability this season? Ryan Babel took the majority vote and I have to agree but im also rather empathetic to his cause. Last pre-season Rafa told him, and the press, he was going to play him through the middle more often – if you call 5 minute cameos here and there more often then he did, otherwise it was complete rubbish and he was shunned out wide again. His performance against Real showed what he can do but he was cast aside after that and now looks likely to leave this summer. Wasted talent? Most definitely. Player’s fault? I’m not so sure.
Winner: Ryan Babel
Runner-Up: Robbie Keane
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Babel Max: Keane
Best New Signing
Not exactly the most competitive area of the awards! The only signing who has impressed in any form is Albert Riera, and that was earlier on in the season. He’s chipped in with his share of goals from midfield and offered some natural width down the left but is he the missing ingredient, im not so sure. Worthy mention to David Ngog who has worked hard and showed signs he could have a future at the club if he continues to develop.
Winner: Albert Riera
Runner-Up: David Ngog
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Riera Max: Riera
Worst New Signing
A fiercely contested award this one. The final day of the season saw just one of Rafa’s signings start the match – and he was back playing for the opposition. Keane wins the award but im not sure if people were voting against the player, or against the signing of the player. Myself, I will never understand why we signed a new forward to play alongside Torres after the way we performed at the back end of last (and this) season with Gerrard and Torres up front. Clearly our strongest formation doesn’t require 2 forwards. Keane though did himself no favours with his attitude and poor form. Who can forget the open goal against Bolton? Sums his Liverpool ‘career’ up I guess.
Winner: Robbie Keane
Runner-Up: Philipp Degen
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Dossena Max: Degen
Best Home Atmosphere
Can only be one real winner here. European nights, naturally, provide that extra spark on the Kop and the first ever visit of Real Madrid to Anfield was always going to be a memorable one. But the performance of the redmen on the pitch meant for a memorable night in the stands to standout as undoubtedly the best atmosphere of the season. Oddly, the visits of Fulham, Portsmouth and Man City weren’t mentioned here!
Winner: Real Madrid
Runner-Up: Man United
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Real Max: Real
Best Away Atmosphere (From our support)
There’s been some memorable away trips for the Reds this season. Two trips to Madrid, first the friendliness of Atletico and second the awesomeness of the Bernabeu, stand out for the European trips. While back in England there was the ‘we’re gonna win the League’ which lasted well past the final whistle down at Craven Cottage. Then there was outsinging the flag-waving Cockney’s despite our first-leg humbling and providing a fitting tribute on the eve of the Hillsborough anniversary. But the winner in the vote was the trip to Old Trafford, probably for all the reasons named above!
Winner: Old Trafford
Runner-Up: Stamford Bridge (CL)
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Madrid Max: Old Trafford
Best Chant / Song of the Season
I admit, I messed up the vote here, it was meant to be best new song or chant and I accidentally put the Torres bounce in, which, of course, wasn’t new this season. It was the runaway winner but worthy mentions to Mascherano’s Seven Nation Army, Steven Gerrard is our Captain and Bill Shankly Boys.
The MoTD theme tune and ‘Ya shoulda stayed on the telly’ should also get mentions for proving the Kop still has it’s wit and humour.
Winner: Torres bounce
Runner-Up: Mascherano-o-o-o-o (Seven Nation Army)
Editor’s Choice: Matt: Bill Shankly Boys Max: Steven Gerrard is our Captain