Ben Twelves takes a look back at the 2013/14 season and picks his highlights and top performers from Brendan Rodgers’ second year in charge.
A magnificent season for Liverpool came to an end when the Reds’ recorded their 26th win in 38 Premier League games to finish runners-up. It was a monumental effort from Rodgers and his players to run Manchester City so close in a two horse title race and they have certainly given us all something to be proud of once again.
Throughout the season we experienced so many highs that far outweighed the very few lows and the team have firmly given Reds everywhere a real reason to believe as we begin to undertake a journey back to greatness. Incredible individual displays and top team performances contributed to a memorable campaign that Rodgers and his squad will be looking to build upon again next season. But before we turn our focus to the looming transfer window and excitement of Champions League nights, there are still awards that need sorting from this season.
Player of the Season: Luis Suarez
An obvious choice and one every Liverpool fan would agree with. After scoring a quite simply breath-taking 31 goals in just 33 appearances in the league this season, Luis Suarez announced himself as the best player in the world bar none. But as we know, the Uruguayan isn’t just a goal scorer.
Several moments of magic per game that leave you trying to work out how he actually did it, combined with his selfless work rate, tenacity and desire that we all love him for, make him a unique player, one that we are lucky to have. The man is a winner and we can now offer him the European platform that he both craves and so deserves and hopefully he can lead us to more European glory.
Young player of the season: Raheem Sterling
The jury was still out for large sections of the clubs’ support at the start of the season on Sterling and very few predicted what a season he would enjoy. Another player with a fantastic work rate and intensity in his game to compliment his almost frightening level of ability for a player of his age, Sterling became a highly influential figure for the team this season.
Nine goals and five assists in 33 appearances, contributing to some of the most exhilarating attacking play seen at Anfield for decades, the biggest young talent in European football, in the words of our leader, grew game by game and the best bit about him is, he is still only 19 years old and as the team continue to improve, he will too.
Most improved player of the season: Jon Flanagan
At the start of the season, Jon Flanagan was somewhat of a forgotten man. Struggling to even secure a loan move to a football league side according to the manager, the local lad was thrown in at the deep end for the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, where he produced an outstanding and courageous performance. Since then, the tough defender never looked back and established himself a first team starter on the unnatural left side ahead of experienced loanee, Aly Cissokho. The Scouser recorded his first goal at White Hart Lane, an unforgettable moment that I was lucky enough to witness live, and his assured performances have seen him play his way into an extended Anfield stay.
Goal of the season: Luis Suarez v Norwich (Hat-trick goal)
In a season where we finished with a staggering 101 league goals to our name, picking just one for the goal of the season proved extremely difficult. There were a lot of real quality, both individual efforts and team goals, and there were a high number of genuine contenders for the accolade.
Some of the contenders include Daniel Sturridge’s deft chip at home to West Brom as well as Suarez’s remarkable header from the edge of the box in the same fixture. The Uruguayans incredible whipped free-kick at Goodison Park along with his 45 yard half volley and free kick against Norwich at Anfield are others.
Notable mentions include the Suarez’s lung-bursting run and finish from inside his own half at home to Everton, Jordan Henderson’s fine 25 yard ping at home to Swansea, Sterling’s and Coutinho’s finishes at home to Man City and finally Raheem’s sensational strike from distance away at Norwich.
But there could only be one winner and that is Luis Suarez’s hat-trick goal out of the fantastic four he notched that day against Norwich at Anfield. It was a quite unbelievable effort, flicking the ball around the oncoming Leroy Fer, before unleashing a half volley while off balance, that travelled the same height and at such pace before landing in the far corner of the net.
Performance of the season: Spurs away
Again, the magnificent season we’ve had meant there were a number of choices. The complete battering of Tottenham both home and away, along with the hammering of north London neighbours Arsenal were exceptional displays. The 4-0 thrashing of our very own local rivals in a brutal attacking display at Anfield will live long in the memory and despite not managing to pick up three points on the day, the impressive performance away at Man City should not be forgotten or overshadowed by the result.
These were the main fixtures that stuck out to me and while all genuine contenders I’ve opted for the 0-5 win at White Hart Lane. It was a complete dismantlement of Andre Villas-Boas side that Sunday afternoon and Liverpool were simply unplayable. Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson completely bossed the game in the middle of the park – playing around their physically superior opposition who couldn’t get close enough to them to be able to even use their attributes that were certain to dominate the Reds midfield in the eyes of many.
The intensity and intelligence of the teams’ play, combined with movement and skill that left Spurs’ chasing shadows and goals from Suarez, Henderson, Flanagan and Sterling capped of a truly breath-taking display and the best of the season.