Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool have been widely tipped to challenge for the title this season, and will hope to follow in the footsteps of Bob Paisley’s 1979 stock.
With Liverpool Football Club winning doubles, trebles, back-to-back titles and securing European glory, the task of picking their greatest season is near impossible.
However, did you know that there is at least one season in our history in which the Reds set records that will never be topped?
On May 17, 1979, Liverpool left Elland Road to rapturous applause from their travelling support. They had comfortably beaten Leeds United 3-0, in the final game of the season.
They had won the First Division two games earlier, on the 40th anniversary of Bob Paisley signing for the club.
This was Bob’s third league title as manager and the club’s 11th. He’d also won the UEFA Cup and two European Cups. However, the 1978/79 season had set a new benchmark in domestic football.
Paisley had allied the most miserly defence in the league with the most potent attack in the country. It was a terrifying combination.
Writing in the Liverpool Echo, Michael Charters swooned:
“…the whole team effort was typically Liverpool, there’s not a team in the land to touch them.
“They are the finest British team I have ever seen, a team of immense blend, experience, class and ability of the highest standard.”
Who could argue? In a 42-game season, Liverpool lost just four times, scoring 85 goals and conceding just 16; it gave them an astonishing goal difference of +69.
They also notched up the highest points total in Football League history with 68 points—these were the days of two points for a win.
Their 85-goal haul was also a record and it earned them a payout from a national newspaper, who had promised that any team averaging two goals per game would receive £50,000.
The mini pot of gold was assured under rain-soaked skies in Yorkshire, thanks to a Jimmy Case thunderbolt. With a rainbow painted across the heavens, a footballing god, Kenny Dalglish, drove at the Leeds defence.
Everyone expected him to play the easy pass to Terry McDermott or Phil Neal, but he flummoxed the Leeds back line by somehow seeing the run of Case, and squared it to him.
Jimmy smashed it into the net, filling the club coffers at the same time.
David Johnson would add his second and Liverpool’s 85th of the season after 57 minutes and the rest of the game was a procession.
It was a fitting end to a domestic season of unparalleled supremacy.
Brian Clough, whose Nottingham Forest team won the European Cup in ’79 after eliminating Liverpool in the early stages, described the Reds as untouchable and Bob Paisley as the Frank Sinatra of football.
Who could argue with that?
Jeff Goulding is the author of two Liverpool books; ‘Red Odyssey: Liverpool FC 1892-2017’ and ‘Stanley Park Story: Life, Love and the Merseyside Derby’.