The year 2020 has been nothing short of unprecedented for more reasons than one, and for Liverpool it signalled the end of a long wait. But which other moments stood out?
Like any New Year, there is the hope of what’s to come and dreams waiting to be fulfilled but plainly put, 2020 was a year like no other.
From being within touching distance of the title to a global pandemic seeing football and the rest of the world come to a grinding halt, it has been a time to truly value what is important.
Within that time, however, Liverpool were still able to create a form of escapism and provided the greatest joy as the club was finally able to utter the words: champions of England.
While we all know where that one sits in the top moments of 2020 for Liverpool, there have still been a number of others which we look back on fondly as we welcome the turn of another year.
So here’s our top eight Liverpool moments of 2020.
8. The FA Cup run
The Reds’ two early FA Cup games were ones to remember, primarily for the players of the future who shone brightly.
The first was that game against Everton, where the visitors named a strong XI to Liverpool’s mish-mash of youngsters and those on the fringes.
It finally looked like the ideal chance for the Blues to end their barren run at Anfield, only for a Curtis Jones special on the edge of the area – the first of his Liverpool career.
The next game was just as fondly remembered as the youngest side in the club’s history – with an average age of 19 years and 102 days – toppled Shrewsbury in front of a packed Anfield in a dominant display beyond their tender years.
Neil Critchley took the helm as Jurgen Klopp and Co. enjoyed a winter break and five players made their debut on the night, and it’s one they will never forget.
7. Rising stars take to the fore
While Klopp’s senior contingent more than impressed, the club’s up-and-coming talent more than held their own in a year which saw them relied upon more than ever.
Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher, Neco Williams, Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Harvey Elliott all rose to prominence and have seen their role within the first team grow in importance due to both injury and the need to provide an effective rotation option.
There’s been no shortage of feel-good stories where they concern and it is only the start of their careers.
Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain and Billy Koumetio have also been handed debuts and are the ones next in line to keep an eye on.
6. Football’s return from lockdown
It was a far cry from what came before, with no crowds, masks, strict protocols and distancing measures and players without sharp, clean haircuts.
But football was back. After three months of uncertainty, the Premier League was deemed safe to return in June and while it felt like an extended pre-season, you couldn’t deny the lifeline it provided to many.
We truly don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.
5. That win over Man United
“And now you’re gonna believe us…”
How was this in January? It is a game which will be cemented in the story of Liverpool’s title-winning campaign, one where the belief that the title was returning to Anfield poured out of all four stands.
From Virgil van Dijk‘s opener to Alisson launching that pinpoint pass to set Mo Salah on his way and the celebration which ensued, it instantly brings a smile to your face.
4. Fortress Anfield
Another year and another one without a defeat in the league at Anfield. Simply incredible.
For the third successive calendar year, the Reds have avoided defeat on their own soil in the top flight, the first time in club history that such a feat has been achieved.
The Reds played a total of 17 league games at home in 2020, nine in the 2019/20 season and eight in the current campaign.
A total of 15 were won and just two were drawn, with an aggregate score of 46-14. And while not a moment per se, it is an astonishing record to celebrate – one which coincides with 67 games unbeaten and counting.
3. Liverpool finally land Thiago
“How are we?”
Pretty darn good, to be honest. It’s still a very pinch-me moment when you are reminded that this man is a Liverpool player.
It was played out in the media long before it became official and the fanfare did not disappoint – it has still yet to waver having been starved of seeing him on the pitch due to a knee injury.
In the 152 minutes he has played, Thiago has proven he is everything the Reds needed and more, and that Liverpool were able to clinch a world-class player shows how far the club has come in recent years.
Anfield is, at last, the destination rather than the stepping stone.
2. Fans return to Anfield
It was a long 271-day wait to see 2,000 fans filter through the gates at Anfield against Wolves at the start of December.
The visit of Atletico Madrid back in March was the last time Anfield was a packed house and while against Wolves it was still well below capacity, it proved an emotional return.
Football without fans is nothing and the real-time reaction and a return to a degree of normality was a sight to behold. You never know how much you miss it until it is taken away.
If you want a first-hand perspective on what it was like, look no further than Jeff Goulding’s reflection on being a part of history.
1. Liverpool are Premier League champions
The dream was finally realised, at long last.
A new generation saw Liverpool Football Club crowned as the champions of England after what was a relentless and ruthless 2019/20 season.
The suspension of football caused some trepidation but the result was never beyond doubt and while it could not be celebrated as anyone would have predicted or wanted, the moment was still one to cherish.
A total of 99 points – a club record – and 18 clear of the next best ensured there was no questioning the credentials of Klopp’s side.
A time to celebrate will come and, who knows, by that time we may have another Premier League title in the trophy cabinet.