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Dominic King's Liverpool FC review 2000-2010
Published : 01 Jan 2010 06:00:00
Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard in Istanbul 300 IT'S a question that would flummox supporters of most clubs: how can you see your team win four European trophies and six domestic gongs yet still end the decade disappointed? Liverpool, though, are no ordinary club and that point has been emphatically proven on numerous occasions during the past 10 years; on and off the field, they have taken drama to levels rarely witnessed before in their history. From glorious nights in Dortmund and Istanbul that will never be forgotten through to the sale of the club that many supporters will find difficult to forgive, Liverpool have been in the headlines more than when they were Europe's dominant team. Yet for all that wonderful theatre, all those astonishing games and the countless players whose exploits in a Red shirt helped turn them into heroes, as we prepare to leave the 'Noughties' behind, disappointment comes from one inescapable fact. Frustratingly, the search for the holy grail that is the Premier League title remains as far from Liverpool's grasp now as it did when they signed off the last millennium with a comfortable 3-1 win over Wimbledon. Despite a couple of near misses - in the 2001/02 campaign and again last season - when they finished runners-up, the Reds have not unearthed the magic ingredient to transform them from contenders to champions and some are wondering if it will ever be found. After all, football's landscape has changed dramatically since 1999 and it is more crucial than ever for clubs to have vast amounts of cash, so they can compete at the top end of the transfer market. Though Liverpool have not been what you can describe as miserly in terms of making big signings - the club record fee was broken three times and five purchases in excess of £17m were made - there has always been a sense that the books have needed balancing. Contrast that with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - the only sides to win the Premier League in the past 10 years - and it's clear, to some extent, Liverpool have not been competing on a level playing field. But, in truth, that scenario always threatened to come about and it's why former chief executive Rick Parry suggested at the start of the decade Liverpool would need major investment, a new stadium or for Anfield to be significantly redeveloped to keep pace.