Liverpool face Leicester City on Tuesday evening, as the two sides face each other in the Premier League for the first time in a decade. We look back at that meeting, and how the Reds’ campaign panned out.
Back in March 2004 Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool side headed to the Walkers Stadium – now known as the King Power Stadium – to face Leicester City for the first time at their new ground.
The Reds were in the hunt for a vital Champions League place, tussling with Newcastle for the fourth and final spot, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all streets ahead in the top three. The Foxes, meanwhile, were on the verge of relegation.
When the two sides had done battle at Anfield earlier in the season, in September 2003, goals from Michael Owen and former Leicester hero Emile Heskey had inspired Houllier’s men to a 2-1 victory. Marcus Bent’s goal had been nothing more than a stoppage-time consolation.
Leicester City 0-0 Liverpool
Sunday 28th March 2004
Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Hyypia, Biscan, Traore, Cheyrou (Murphy 70), Gerrard, Hamann, Kewell, Heskey, Baros (Sinama Pongolle 85).
Subs not used: Henchoz, Diouf, Luzi Bernardi.
Leicester: Walker, Scimeca, Dabizas, Heath, Thatcher, Freund, Izzet, Nalis (Guppy 45), Ferdinand, Bent, Dickov.
Subs not used: Coyne, Benjamin, Canero, Gillespie.
This fixture was a relatively dull affair in truth, but there was always the feeling that Liverpool were in control of the match. They lacked firepower without injured star man Michael Owen though, who little did we know was coming to the end of his time on Merseyside.
Steven Gerrard and Dietmar Hamann were both denied by Ian Walker, while Bruno Cheyrou hit the woodwork. Igor Biscan, also much-maligned at the time, headed just wide from a corner.
Leicester’s best chances came from two extremely experienced players, Paul Dickov and Les Ferdinand, but they couldn’t find a way past Jerzy Dudek. Their new ground didn’t have the same atmospheric, gritty feel that Filbert Street did; a ground where Liverpool were often tested down the years.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point, with a drab goalless draw the final outcome.
It wasn’t an ideal point for either team, but it did keep Liverpool in control of their destiny with regards to finishing in the top four.
What Happened Next?
Liverpool ended up clinching Champions League qualification, with Southampton‘s 3-3 draw with Newcastle in their penultimate game gifting Houllier and his side fourth place. They met at Anfield on the final day, in a game which looked for most of the season as though it would decide fourth, but it was a dead rubber that finished 1-1.
It would prove to be pivotal in the history of Liverpool Football Club, as the following season they would go on to win Europe’s greatest club competition.
That amazing European adventure was not to be overseen by Houllier, however. The Frenchman’s six seasons in the Anfield hotseat came to an end immediately after the campaign. Rafa Benitez came in, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Meanwhile, Micky Adams’ Leicester side were relegated to the Championship, having lasted just one season back in the Premier League. It would be a decade until they were back.
Now managed by Nigel Pearson, they face Liverpool on Tuesday rooted to the foot of the table, having won just twice in their 13 league games, while Brendan Rodgers’ Reds are currently in a disappointing 11th position. It’s a huge game for both.
What are your memories of the 2003/04 campaign? Let us know in the comments section.