1975-85 Liverpool: Best decade in the history of the Reds

In this article we look at the Liverpool team of 1975 - 85. The best in the history of Reds. Liverpool's status as England's most successful club and a European club tournament powerhouse was cemented in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Abhishek Singh

@Abhishek-singh

Updated: Jul 17th 21

5 min read / 987 views

Liverpool Football Club was formerly one of Europe's most feared club sides, despite not winning a domestic league title since 1990 and a European trophy since 2005. Liverpool's status as England's most successful club and a European club tournament powerhouse was cemented in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The 'Boot Room' at Liverpool produced an incredibly long-lasting and consistent succession of teams that dominated the European Cup for ten years and ushered in a period of English dominance in Europe. This was overseen by a number of managers, the most successful of which was Bob Paisley, who was also the architect of what was to come.

 

Coach: Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan


Trophies: 4 European Cups (1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1983–84), 1 UEFA Cup (1975–76), 7 First Division titles (1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84), 4 League Cups (1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84), 5 Charity Shields (1976, 1977*, 1979, 1980, 1982), 1 UEFA Super Cup (1977)


Star Players: Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Emlyn Hughes, Graeme Souness, Hansen,  Ian Rush

 

After recruiting former Liverpool footballer Bob Paisley as a manager in 1974, the club went on to win six First Division titles (5 between 1977 and 1984), three League Cup medals, three European Cups, a UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup. The continuation of success was secured by a fluid replacement of players playing inside the same system. After Kevin Keegan went for Hamburg, he was replaced by the equally talented Kenny Dalglish. The sides played attractive and effective 'pass and move' fluid football in a conventional English 4-4-2 style inspired by Alf Ramsey.

 

Paisley's team won the FA Charity Shield in his first season in command, but it wasn't until the 1976-77 season that Liverpool established themselves as genuine contenders in every competition they entered. Liverpool won the league title in 1976 and 1977, finishing one point clear of the runners-up in both seasons. But 1977 brought silverware to Merseyside for the first time in the club's history, with Liverpool reaching the European Cup final for the first time in the club's history, winning the coveted trophy with a 3-1 victory over German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in the final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

 

In every way, Liverpool set the standard, becoming only the second English team to win the European Cup in Rome in 1977, repeating the feat a year later at Wembley, and reaching the final three more times in the following seven years. In 1977, Liverpool played such a flawless game that Bob Paisley never had to use Fairclough or make a substitute. It was one of those days.

 

In 1978, Liverpool won the European Cup for the second time, and in 1979, they won the First Division title for the third time. In 1981, after returning to the top of the domestic league, Liverpool reached the European Cup final with a new striker who was only starting to create a name for himself. Liverpool would go on to win two more league titles and their third European Cup, a campaign in which they went undefeated and won the trophy with a 1-0 final victory over Real Madrid, Europe's most successful team. Liverpool, on the other hand, would have a year to remember shortly following Paisley's departure as manager.

 

During the 1983-84 football season, Liverpool, now managed by Paisley's old assistant Fagan, could do no wrong. When May of 1984 arrived, Liverpool's history would be forever altered. Liverpool won their third consecutive First Division title with a match to spare on May 12th, 1984, becoming only the third team in history to do so. The Reds would face AS Roma in the European Cup final eighteen days later, at the Stadio Olimpico no less. Rush would go on to score game-winning goals in each of the three rounds leading up to the championship game. LFC were now one match away from making English football history, having brushed off Bilbao, Benfica, and Bucharest. The match went to a penalty shoot-out after the scores were tied 1–1 after full-time and extra-time. Liverpool triumphed 4–2 in the penalty shootout to win their fourth European Cup. They were the first English team to win three major titles in a single season, as well as their fourth European Cup title in seven years, a feat that the club has yet to match.

 

In 1985, Liverpool reached the European Cup final for the second time, this time against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before the game, Liverpool fans broke through a barrier separating the two sets of supporters and charged Juventus supporters. A retaining wall collapsed as a result of the crowd's weight, killing 39 fans, predominantly Italians. The Heysel Stadium disaster became recognised as a result of the incident. Despite both managers' complaints, the match was played, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus. Following the disaster, English clubs were barred from competing in European competition for five years, with Liverpool receiving a ten-year ban that was eventually reduced to six. Fourteen Liverpool supporters were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Fagan, Liverpool, and the English game were all stunned by Heysel's arrival.

 

Liverpool's success rate would decrease after the 1983-84 season. The club would go on to win three more league titles, the latest of which came in 1990, as well as a UEFA Champions League triumph in 2005, with the team from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s still regarded as not only Liverpool's best, but also one of Europe's most outstanding.


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