Dress for the trophies you want – comparing two Liverpool squads

Blog by: Into the top corner

The current Liverpool team: a promising bunch

The current Liverpool team: a promising bunch

Warrior have caught a lot of criticism for their “bold” away and third kits for the 2013-14 season. However, the home kit has been praised from top to bottom. It draws it’s design from the 1983-84 Liverpool team which won the European Cup in Rome. This article looks at that squad compared to the current one. That team won the treble in 1984 winning the League, League Cup and the European Cup. How does the 2013-2014 version of Liverpool stack up? Can they rise up to the calibre of one of the greatest teams of all time? Doubtful, but the squad certainly shows loads of promise.

GOALKEEPER

1983-84-Bruce Grobbelaar

The Zimbabwean keeper is widely regarded as one of the best ever to play for the club but in the lead up to the 1983-84 season there were still questions regarding his consistency and whether he could be the club’s number 1. He put much of this to rest, making 67 appearances during the treble season. He cemented his place in club folklore during the penalty shootout at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in the European Cup final. His biting of the net and his wobbly legs were given credit for Bruno Conti and Francesco Graziani’s misses in the shootout and Liverpool walked off the pitch in Rome as European champions.

2013-14- Simon Mignolet

Where Grobbelaar was guaranteed to make the majority of the appearances in 1983-84, the current keeper situation at Liverpool was far more murky at the start of the summer but now it is very similar. Pepe Reina was Liverpool’s first choice keeper since 2006, however he has been shipped away on loan to Napoli since the arrival of Mignolet from Sunderland. The Belgium international was one of the top performing keepers in the league last season and like Grobbelaar there are still questions regarding his consistency and whether he could perform for top club at the highest level. Where there was consistency in 1983, there is a bit of uncertainty in 2013.

Advantage: Push

DEFENCE

1983-84- Phil Neal, Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansen, Alan Kennedy

The defence of the 1983-84 Liverpool squad was dominant. Allowing only 41 goals in 42 league matches and an amazing 3 goals in 9 European Cup matches, they laid the foundation for a treble winning season. On top of completely locking down their rivals, the defence also liked to get in on the scoring and it was right back Phil Neal who gave Liverpool the lead in the European Cup final putting away a failed clearance by Michele Nappi. Kennedy and Neal also converted their penalties in the shootout to help Liverpool to their title.

2013-14- Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure/Martin Skrtel/Mamdou Sakho, Glen Johnson

Three of the players who will most likely start at the back for Liverpool this season are holdovers from last season’s back line. Enrique and Johnson were fantastic going forward last season but the back line will definitely attempt to improve on a season where they allowed a lot of soft goals due to defensive lapses. Despite having kept 15 clean sheets in the league, most came against squads in the bottom half of the table. Tightening up against the bigger sides will be key to improvement this season.

Advantage: 1983MIDFIELD

1983-84- Sammy Lee, Craig Johnston, Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish: Liverpool's greatest

Kenny Dalglish: Liverpool’s greatest

What can be said about this group that has not already been said. Lee, Souness and Dalglish are legends. Lee and Dalglish were potent on the wings, with Dalglish tallying 12 goals in all competitions. Souness, the captain, was unknowingly serving his last season on Merseyside but put in fantastic performances scoring 12 goals. All of these contributed to him lifting 3 trophies that season. All of this neglecting the defensive contributions from Souness, which were so key. Seeing three club legends line up next to each other was a sight to behold and seeing anything like it again soon is something Liverpool fans can only hope for.

2013-14- Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson/Joe Allen

With Rodgers likely to stick to three midfielders; with Lucas the destroyer, Gerrard the transition and Henderson the man going forward, there is plenty of potential in the group. Lucas’s return to the squad was solid but not his best form. He will want to improve on his campaign and remain healthy. Gerrard showed how dangerous he can still be, with 10 goals and 12 assists to his name. Liverpool can only hope that his late season surgery went well and he can find similar form again. Henderson looked much the player that Liverpool thought they had signed originally. He’s rejuvenated under Rodgers and will look to continue his surge in form from late in the season. Allen has a lot to prove after a disappointing first campaign that started with such promise.

Advantage: 1983

ATTACK

1983-84- Michael Robinson and Ian Rush

Most Liverpool fans will be forgiven for forgetting about Michael Robinson, who played his only season for the club in 83-84. He scored 6 goals in 30 appearances. However, Ian Rush will never be forgotten by Liverpool supporters. He made 65 appearances in all competitions that season, scoring an incredible 47 goals. He is certainly one of the greatest forwards ever to play the game and will go down in history as an Liverpool legend.

2013-14- Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge (Victor Moses, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto)

Where the 1983-84 team was reliant on one attacking player to provide most of the goals, the 2013-14 edition has a boatload of attacking options. Suarez, when not suspended, was brilliant last season, scoring 23 goals. But the other attackers, when Suarez was unavailable, stepped up. This fact will buoy Liverpool as they face continued uncertainty over the future of their temperamental, yet breathtaking Uruguayan. Luckily for them, Coutinho and Sturridge arrived in January and were absolute revelations for the club. Coutinho provided a much needed creative spark in attack. Sturridge seemed like the clinical finisher that he never was for Chelsea and the one that Liverpool have lacked since the departure of Fernando Torres in the opposite direction in 2010. New signings Aspas, Moses and Alberto will look to establish themselves in a side that has choices up front. This team may not have a Rush, but with the options they have, they can easily match the potency that Liverpool found in 1984.

Advantage: 2013

CONCLUSION

Liverpool have had many great teams, and up there in the conversation of “best ever” is the 1983-84 team. A treble win is a feat that the current edition of the team are unlikely to match and they are not competing for a European Cup. They will be looking at finishing in the top 4 as a goal and will certainly make a run at those Champions League places. The League and FA Cups will provide a good opportunity for silverware as well as a chance for the fringe players to prove what they can do. The strength that Liverpool have in attack at the moment stands in stark contrast to the past few seasons where only Suarez was a real scoring threat. If they can add one attacking midfielder to shore up their options in the middle of the park, they have the potential to return to what most would consider “The Liverpool Way.” This Liverpool team seem poised to follow Warrior’s slogan and “Rise Up” this season, here’s hoping they do.

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