A glorious sky for Liverpool at the end of UCL final storm

Champions League By: Uche Duru | 28/05/2018

The 2017–18 season was the 122nd season in Liverpool Football Club's existence and losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League finals that had their main man, Mo Salah escorted off the pitch due to an injury is a nightmare that will hunt them in a long time.

Just like the aforementioned, the Kops in the 2007-08 season which was their 116th season in existence and 45th consecutive year in the top flight, which covers the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 lost in the finals. Having finished third the previous season, Liverpool had qualified to the UEFA Champions League final but a 2-1 loss to AC Milan in the showdown in Athens was sheer heartbreaking.

On May 23, 2007, Liverpool lost 2-1 to AC Milan in the Champions League final in Athens – but for many travelling fans the event was as memorable for events off the pitch as on it.

Coming just two years after the extraordinary Champions League final between these same two sides in Istanbul, AC Milan and Carlo Ancelotti had been handed their chance of redemption in the Olympic Stadium. Fate had spoken again.

Though Milan’s players did not confirm they wanted revenge when they were questioned about ‘Rivincita’ prior to the match, it must surely have been at the forefront of their minds. That was not a defeat anyone could forget in a hurry.

For Liverpool supporters, meanwhile, their European exploits were beginning to feel normal. There was a confidence, in fact, that Benitez could ensure many more similar events. Little did they know what was to come under the new owners.

Liverpool trained in La Manga ahead of the game, and with an obvious improvement on the team that had won the competition 24 months prior, there was certainly reason for optimism.

Around 50,000 Liverpool fans were estimated to be in Athens, but only 16,779 tickets were allocated to the Reds officially.

The game ended in a 2-1 scoreline in favour of AC Milan with Pirlo's freekick sending the goalkeeper, Reina the wrong way as it hit Inzaghi's arm. Then, with eight minutes remaining, Kaka played Inzaghi in behind the Liverpool defence, with the striker taking the ball past Reina with his first touch and squeezing it under the keeper with his second to give Milan a 2-0 lead.

Liverpool were able to score once as Kuyt managed to salvage of goal back for the Reds, when Agger flicked on a corner and the striker headed in from close range, but there was to be no dramatic comeback this time, with Benitez berating the referee at full-time and pointing to his watch regarding the added minutes. Liverpool finally lost with the likes of Bellamy, Crouch, and Kuyt as their strikers.

Afterward, Liverpool bought Fernando Torres and relished their closest EPL title race - It was arguably their best team in the Premier League era. The Reds led by Torres took the fourth position in the Premier League, got to the fifth round in the FA Cup.quater finals in the League Cup and Semifinals in the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool were able to do all that because of the quality of players they had in their name and could still repeat same excellence if they add the right players to their team. 

The just concluded 2018 UEFA Champions League final which they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid is a pointer to the fact that the Kops need to improve their quality of players. Karius as a goalkeeper had an applaudable season until the final day when he was supposed to seal the deal for the Premier League side and introduce himself to the world, rather the goalkeeper in a manner that exuded unprofessionalism, showcased two dreadful mistakes that cost Liverpool their Champions League title - they gave it away to trophy-hungry Real Madrid.

Again, the accidental removal of Mohamed Salah shouldn't be the end of a team that were focused on winning the Champions League title but, it was anyways. The heavy metal Liverpool system dropped as the Egyptian left the stage due to injury caused by Sergio Ramos. Another pointer to the fact that, Liverpool needed varieties in their players to level up in situations such as this which was why Real Madrid had an edge over them - Ronaldo couldn't perform, Bale was introduced and he finished up in grand-style.

In a manner of speaking, Liverpool's display in the 2017/18 season was commendable especially in the Champions League were they got to the finals. If the Jurgen Klopp led team can get the monkey off their back and bring in the right players both in the defence and more world-class attackers on the bench in times of unfortunate situations, Liverpool will have the sky as their starting point in the 2018/19 campaign.

There is always a glorious sky at the end of the storm.
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