LIVERPOOL SAT ATOP THEIR PERCH FOR MUCH OF THE 20 YEARS PRIOR TO 1990 AND THE DECADE BEGAN WITH A FAMILIAR SIGHT. BUT THAT WAS AS GOOD AS IT GOT FOR A SOON-TO-BE FORMER SUPER POWER…
Who would have thought when Alan Hansen lifted the First Division trophy in 1990, 28 years later Liverpool would still be waiting for their next League title? For a club that dominated the 1970s and 80s, it seemed like business as usual. Little did the celebrating supporters know that it was really the end of an era.
Having lost the 1988-89 title race in dramatic fashion as Arsenal won at Anfield to steal the trophy from the
Reds’ grasp, the campaign that followed as much more straightforward. Kenny Dalglish was still officially the Liverpool player-manager, but made only one substitute appearance. He left the goalscoring to the likes of John Barnes, and returning prodigal son Ian Rush, back from an unhappy spell at Juventus. They scored 22 and 18 goals respectively as Liverpool outgunned the opposition, racking up 78 goals in their 38 games. Southampton, who finished seventh, were closest with 71, while runners-up Aston Villa could muster only 57. Liverpool were also the League’s best defensive side, conceding only 37 times, as captain Hansen recovered from the injuries that dogged him the previous season. He would retire as a player in 1991, as injuries struck again and forced him to sit out the entire 1990-91 season. Dalglish’s side ended the season nine points clear of Villa and came second to Arsenal a year later, but dropped to sixth in 1991-92 as age of the Premiership — now the Premier League — dawned and Manchester United prepared to take over as the country’s dominant force.