Simon Collings picks out the most memorable goals from Liverpool’s incredible 2013/14 campaign.
Let’s face it… it was a brilliant campaign.
Although having just missed out on the league title, 2013/14 was certainly one to remember.
Having gone from possible top four hopefuls at the start of the season to the league’s pacesetters since the turn of the year, Brendan Rodgers’ men have given us so much to shout about with their clinical brand of attacking football, which has seen us return to the forefront of the European game.
Whilst it might seem a disappointing end to the year (after so much promise one point) one, has to remember that we are a team heading in the right direction (ahead of schedule, as some might say) and with a young, ambitious manager that most top clubs wished they had.
The emergence and progression also of young talent such as Jon Flanagan, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, and Philippe Coutinho, coupled with the genius of Luis Suarez – and all watched over by the guidance of Steven Gerrard – this Reds team of 2013/14 has been the most entertaining since the late eighties.
Yes, we’ve had the odd dodgy defensive display (which team hasn’t?), and we’ll all have our own opinions of what went wrong over the last few games, but for now let’s celebrate the positives from this free-scoring season and look back at the most memorable goals we’ve scored along the way.
Out of the 101 Premier League goals we notched up during the term, which ones have been the most memorable?
Not necessarily the most spectacular or the most important, but the ones that have stayed with us as the season has gone on.
Suarez could quite easily have this top ten all to himself, but the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Agger, and even Joe Allen have all contributed to our century of goals.
So, in chronological order, let’s take a look…
1. Luis Suarez vs Sunderland Away (29/09/13)
In a match that saw the return of our star striker alongside Sturridge, this 3-0 victory highlighted just how potent the ‘SAS’ is to Premier League defences.
Suarez’s first of a clinical brace saw him tap in from close range after good work from Sturridge out on the right.
After taking Gerrard’s raking ball in his stride, our No.15 skinned Carlos Cuellar before fizzing a low cross into the six-yard box for Suarez to tap home.
The simplest of goals – but executed to perfection by all involved. It was his first of the season and a sign of things to come from the Uruguayan.
Although Suarez grabbed the headlines with another hat trick, Sturridge’s deft 25-year chip over Boaz Myhill showed the footballing world what the England forward could do.
If a Lionel Messi or a Christiano Ronaldo had produced such a goal (or even Suarez himself), everyone would be waxing lyrical at the class, cheek and technique in pulling off such a feat.
The fact that Sturridge is an Englishman suggests that homegrown players (and not just Wayne Rooney!) can produce moments of genius on a football field.
As a result, this goal elevated Sturridge up another level, for which he will now be seen as one of the most feared strikers at the World Cup – providing Roy Hodgson plays him down the middle, of course!
There really is nothing better than seeing a homegrown teenager on the score sheet for the Reds and Jon Flanagan’s belter at White Hart Lane was certainly a joy to watch.
After great work by Henderson & Suarez, the youngster hammered home a sweet strike in off the bar past a helpless Hugo Lloris to put us 3-0 up.
The reaction of the team towards his first ever goal highlighted the unity and team spirit within the club, whilst the fullback showed the rest of the league he’s more than just a tough tackling Scouser.
4. Daniel Agger vs Hull City Home (01/01/14)
With the result being more important than the performance, this vital win got us back on track after a tough festive period, which saw us slip from first to fifth.
As captain for the day, Agger rose highest to nod home from a corner and settle any nerves. Suarez many have grabbed the headlines once more with a perfect free kick, but Agger’s opener was equally important – if not more.
5. Steven Gerrard vs Everton Home (28/01/14)
What a night at Anfield. Back when a top four finish was our main target, this win gave us a four-point cushion over neighbours Everton, who came to Anfield full of confidence with their attractive style of play.
Gerrard’s powerful header on 21 minutes however, proved to be the first nail in the Toffees’ coffin that night as they where quite simply blown away.
It could quite easily have been five, six, or seven, but this 4-0 win has gone down in Merseyside folklore, with Gerrard’s header setting us on our way.
His wide-eyed celebration after his goal is perhaps one of the defining images of the season.
6. Steven Gerrard vs Fulham Away (12/02/14)
On a blustery night at Craven Cottage, Gerrard’s last-minute penalty proved to be one of the key turning points in our quest for a successful season.
In what was another pulsating game, Captain Fantastic stepped up to convert the spot kick after Sturridge had been tripped in the area.
In what was always going to be a tricky away fixture (we’ve certainly had our fair share of worrying displays down on the Thames, that’s for sure), Fulham proved to be stubborn opposition.
Yet when Gerrard placed the ball on the spot, there was only going to be one winner. His celebration afterwards said it all.
7. Luis Suarez Vs Man. United Away (16/03/14)
Generally, a victory at Old Trafford means we’ve had a decent season. However, they way it was fashioned here highlighted the gulf in class, confidence, and momentum between the two clubs.
Although Gerrard could have had a hat trick of penalties, Suarez’s goal added a touch of class to the day’s work, and silenced any cries from the home faithful of “You can only win by scoring penalties.”
The fact that we’ve taken United’s Champions League spot this year is wonderful. To pip them by a point would have been great, but by twenty – well that’s the stuff of dreams!
8. Luis Suarez vs Cardiff City Away (22/03/14)
This simple equaliser from Suarez had Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side written all over it. After slick, precise passing from Henderson and Johnson, the Uruguayan then tucked away from close range at the near post to set us on our way in an entertaining 6-3 victory in the Welsh capital.
As a classic team goal, it held up Brendan Rodgers’ style of attacking play to that of the great Barcelona side of recent years.
If the Catalans had scored this goal, we would all be purring once more at their slickness with the ball at their feet.
How many times have we seen the likes of Andres Iniesta feed Daniel Alves, for the Brazilian to then set up Lionel Messi?
On this occasion however, it was Henderson feeding Johnson, who in turn sets up Suarez. We might not yet be as good as Guardiola’s Barca side once were, but we’re getting there – and this goal proves it!
9. Philippe Coutinho vs Man. City Home (13/04/14)
In a game where victory would put the title race in out own hands, this enthralling (albeit nerve-racking) 3-2 win over our closest rivals will live long in the memory.
Coutinho’s crisp finish towards the end gave us our tenth league win in a row and produced scenes at Anfield no one had witnessed for a long, long time.
Having been pegged back to 2-2 after Sterling and Skrtel had set the tone, City were all over us – running riot and showing their class.
Many of our doubters at the time said that when Liverpool eventually comes under the cosh, would we have enough quality or ability to dig deep and come through.
Coutinho’s goal proved we could. Albeit with a slice of luck from Vincent Kompany’s hash of a clearance, the little Brazilian had a lot to do to beat Joe Hart.
He showed his class as he tucked it away nicely – providing the winner to one of the Premier League’s most entertaining ever encounters.
Okay, so we all hoped this would be the game where history would be made. We all craved a new image to go alongside that of Ray Kennedy’s chip at Wolves in ’76, as well as Kenny Dalglish’s volley at Chelsea in ’86.
It wasn’t to be but these two quick-fire goals from Agger and Sturridge at least gave us an end of season victory to cap off a remarkable campaign.
Failure to have won would have certainly left a sour taste in the mouth over the summer – not to mention leaving us in third position.
Moreover, with a home record that saw us drop only seven points all year, it’s safe to say Anfield is once again a fortress to be reckoned with.
The goals as it happens weren’t spectacular – though Gerrard’s deliveries for each were, and the game itself has already been forgotten (except maybe for Suarez’s disallowed cheeky chip).
What won’t be forgotten however is a season that saw us hit over a century of goals and come ever so close to lifting number 19.
Roll on next season.