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Liverpool 2021-22 season review - star player, best moment, standout result

:Headline: Liverpool 2021-22 season review - star player, best moment, standout result:
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Liverpool's 2021-22 season, which saw the Reds threaten an unprecedented quadruple and pick up two major trophies.
Sports Mole

Following an injury-plagued 2020-21 campaign best confined to the footnotes of their recent history, Liverpool bounced back in style this season to launch an unforgettable and historic siege on all four trophies available to them.

The Reds came closer to completing a quadruple than any other English side has ever managed and, while they fell narrowly short of the mythical clean sweep by losing out on the Premier League title by a point and the Champions League crown by a single goal, they did still manage to pick up two pieces of silverware.

Jurgen Klopp put his recent poor history in domestic cup competitions behind him to lead Liverpool to EFL Cup and FA Cup glory at Wembley, while also taking the Premier League title race down to the final day and reaching the Champions League final in Paris.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look back at a 2021-22 campaign that will forever be remembered as one of Liverpool's very best.


Final league position: 2nd

EFL Cup: Winners

FA Cup: Winners

Champions League: Runners-up

Top scorer: Mohamed Salah (31)

Most assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold (19)

Despite such an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign, Liverpool resisted the urges and demands from outside to pour significant investment into their squad during the summer, confident in the assumption that such a freak injury crisis to one area of the team could not happen again.

Those centre-back ranks were bolstered by the arrival of Ibrahima Konate in a £36m deal from RB Leipzig, but he was Liverpool's only summer signing - Klopp's options otherwise boosted by returns from injury for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

The Reds duly kept four clean sheets in their opening five games, with their only goal conceded and only dropped points in that time coming in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield, a game which saw the visitors - at that point fancied by many to challenge for the title - cause plenty of problems and come away with a point despite playing the entire second half with 10 men.

Despite ultimately running Manchester City so close for the title in the end, Liverpool only ended one gameweek at the top of the table throughout the entire season, and that came after one of their most entertaining, but ultimately costly, games of the campaign.

Newly-promoted Brentford had already proved themselves worthy of Premier League status when they welcomed Liverpool to West London in September, and they produced one of their standout performances as they twice came from behind to hold their visitors to a draw which sent the Reds top, but would also prove to be two vital points dropped from a winning position with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Liverpool also began their Champions League campaign during those opening weeks of the season, kicking things off with a thrilling 3-2 triumph over AC Milan, which saw Klopp's men dominate but somehow find themselves 2-1 down at half time, before launching a second-half comeback to win.

That was the beginning of the road to Paris, and Liverpool made light work of a tricky-looking group, becoming the first English team to ever record a perfect sweep in the group stage of the Champions League courtesy of wins home and away against Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid.

Even in early October, the showdown between Liverpool and Man City at Anfield felt like an important one in the title race, and the two standout teams in English football produced arguably the game of the season in a 2-2 draw - all of the goals coming in the space of 21 second-half minutes, including a Mohamed Salah goal-of-the-season contender, as Liverpool twice squandered a lead.

Klopp's men responded to those back-to-back league draws in style by hammering Watford 5-0 - complete with another solo Salah stunner - and then dishing out the same punishment to bitter rivals Manchester United, including two goals in the opening 13 minutes and a Salah hat-trick at Old Trafford.

The scoring was complete by the 50th minute of that game, after which Liverpool effectively toyed with their beleaguered hosts, seemingly able to step up a gear and inflict more damage at any point should they have desired.

That proved to be a peak before a relative trough, though, and in their next league game Liverpool again threw away a lead - this time from 2-0 up - to draw at home to Brighton & Hove Albion, before suffering their first loss of the campaign at the hands of West Ham United on November 7.

Klopp's men responded in style, hitting four past each of Arsenal, Southampton and Everton in their next three league games to kick off a six-game winning streak which was only ended by a 2-2 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur on December 19, when Liverpool finished the game with 10 men.

There was to be no Christmas cheer for the Reds, though, as Salah missed an early penalty in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester on December 28 - the only league game Liverpool failed to score in all season and revenge of sorts for the Foxes having been knocked out of the EFL Cup by Liverpool on penalties six days earlier.

However, that proved to be Liverpool's last league loss of the campaign and, while they again surrendered a two-goal lead against Chelsea in their first outing of the New Year - and at one stage found themselves as many as 14 points adrift of Man City at the top - they enjoyed an incredible second half of the season, sparked in no small part by Luis Diaz's January arrival.

Following the Chelsea draw, Liverpool took 50 of the remaining 54 points on offer in the Premier League, only dropping points away to Man City in another thrilling 2-2 draw and at home to Spurs.

That run of 16 wins from 18 games included some particularly notable high points: a 6-0 drubbing of Leeds for their biggest win of the season, another chastening defeat inflicted on Man United - this time 4-0 at Anfield to make it 9-0 on aggregate for the campaign against their greatest foes - and a final Anfield goal for departing legend Divock Origi, unsurprisingly in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

Consecutive come-from-behind 2-1 wins away to Aston Villa and Southampton ensured that Liverpool took the title race to the very last day of the season, although they needed a favour from former captain Steven Gerrard in charge of Aston Villa, who faced Man City on the final day.

That looked as though it might come to fruition at one stage as Villa took a shock 2-0 lead at the Etihad, although Liverpool were struggling with their own end of the bargain at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

At one stage with 15 minutes of the season remaining, Liverpool needed just one goal to potentially win the title, but Man City launched an astonishing comeback with three goals in five minutes to keep hold of the crown, making Liverpool's 3-1 triumph over Wolves futile on a day where they were given such hope, but ultimately never sat top of the table.

Throughout that hectic Premier League schedule, Liverpool managed to keep their charge going on all other fronts too, with victory over Arsenal at the Emirates in January sending them to the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Nothing could separate Liverpool and Chelsea after an absorbing but goalless 120 minutes on February 27, and so ensued one of the more dramatic penalty shootouts in Wembley history as 21 consecutive players scored, including Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, before Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had been brought on specifically for the shootout, blazed his spot kick well over the crossbar.

The same two sides renewed hostilities at the same venue for the FA Cup final in May - Liverpool having booked their place courtesy of a three-goal first-half blitz against Man City in the semi-final - and the outcome was the same too, a goalless 120 minutes followed by Liverpool winning on penalties to lift the world's oldest club competition trophy for the first time since 2006.

That success was enough for the Reds to organise a victory parade through Liverpool one day after the Champions League final, but their attempts to add a third trophy to that parade fell narrowly short as they were beaten 1-0 by Real Madrid in Paris.

In truth, the result of that match was overshadowed by the shambolic and chaotic events beforehand, when a complete lack of organisation saw Liverpool fans endure horrific experiences when trying to get into the Stade de France, forcing kickoff to be delayed.

Nonetheless, a disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant campaign was somewhat offset by the victory parade, which saw an estimated 500,000 Reds fans line the street to pay tribute to a team that had achieved so much throughout 2021-22.


Wins: 28 (2nd)
Draws: 8 (=11th)
Losses: 2 (20th)
Goals scored: 94 (2nd)
Goals conceded: 26 (=20th)
Yellow cards: 50 (18th)
Red cards: 1 (=20th)
Passes: 23,588 (2nd)
Shots: 729 (1st)
Big chances missed: 59 (3rd)
Saves: 82 (19th)
Tackles: 554 (17th)
Own goals: 1 (=20th)
Hit woodwork: 10 (=13th)
Clearances: 499 (19th)


The 2020-21 season will always have an asterisk next to it for Liverpool fans given the unprecedented injury crisis they suffered, but nonetheless, this season has been a massive improvement for Klopp's side.

Liverpool were scrapping for a top-four finish last season - and at one stage even needed goalkeeper Alisson Becker to keep their hopes alive with a famous goal against West Bromwich Albion - whereas this time around they finished just one point off the title winners, as well as picking up two trophies and reaching a third final compared to none in 2020-21.

Direct comparison are harsh due to the extenuating circumstances of 2020-21, but if they must be made then in the league alone Liverpool finished a whopping 24 points better off, scored 26 more goals, conceded 16 fewer, won eight more league games and lost seven fewer - in short, it was an enormous improvement in just about every area.

At home, Liverpool went through 2021-22 unbeaten in the league compared to six defeats in 2020-21 - all of which came in a row - while last season also contained the humiliating 7-2 reverse to Aston Villa; Liverpool only suffered four defeats in 63 games across all competitions this season, none of which was by more than one goal.

In cup competitions, Liverpool were knocked out in the fourth round of both the FA Cup and EFL Cup last season, and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League courtesy of defeat to Real Madrid again.

A vast improvement was always expected with the players back at Klopp's disposal, but few would have expected such a big upturn on all fronts just one year after such a forgettable campaign.


Mohamed Salah was by no means the only Liverpool player to have a great 2021-22 campaign - indeed, you could go right through the team and make a case for most of their regular starters.

Alisson Becker's one-on-one expertise saved the Reds on numerous occasions, Trent Alexander-Arnold continued to enhance his reputation as a right-back legend in the making, while Andrew Robertson was just as impressive on the opposite flank. In the middle, Joel Matip - and Ibrahima Konate for the Champions League in general - were every bit as important as Virgil van Dijk this term.

In midfield, Thiago Alcantara reached another level during the second half of the season, while Fabinho underlined his importance to the team on a weekly basis.

Up front too, each of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Salah himself had moments of the campaign when they could justifiably lay claim to being Liverpool's most important attacker - and Mane in particular was perhaps more responsible than anyone for Liverpool's incredible second half of the season.

However, when a team has the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Fans' Player of the Year in their ranks, it is difficult to look past him for this award.

Salah directly contributed to 47 goals in just 51 appearances across all competitions, scoring 31 times and creating 16 more for his teammates, and while his form undoubtedly tailed off following his Africa Cup of Nations heartbreak, he still did enough to end the Premier League campaign as both the top scorer and the top assister in the division.

The 29-year-old's Golden Boot was the third of his Liverpool career, with Thierry Henry now the only player in Premier League history to have won more, while he has now ended the season as Liverpool's top scorer five years in a row - something only Michael Owen, Roger Hunt and Gordon Hodgson have ever managed before.

Salah scored 15 goals and registered six assists in his opening 12 outings of the season, and incredibly only failed to directly contribute to a goal in one of Liverpool's first 17 Premier League games.

The Egyptian had a hand in no fewer than seven goals in Liverpool's two league games against Manchester United alone - including a memorable hat-trick at Old Trafford - while Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Burnley were the only clubs against whom he failed to register either a goal or assist in the league.


There are no shortage of contenders for this award in a season where Liverpool were involved in three cup finals and enjoyed many memorable Premier League results.

The journey to Paris - if not the match itself - and both visits to Wembley are of course all high on the list, as are league wins over Leeds, Everton and the 4-0 hammering of Manchester United at Anfield. Even the 2-2 draw with Man City deserves to be in consideration despite the dropped points, such was the quality of the game.

However, while Man City are now Liverpool's biggest rivals for silverware, there is still nothing quite like facing Manchester United, and the Reds' 5-0 procession at Old Trafford will be talked about for years to come.

In one of the most one-sided editions of the famous fixture ever seen, Liverpool took the lead after only five minutes, doubled it after 13 and were incredibly four goals to the good by half time.

Salah completed a 12-minute hat-trick either side of the interval by making it 5-0 to Liverpool five minutes into the second half, and at that stage it looked as though Klopp's men could and would run up a cricket score.

However, they almost seemed to take pity on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as Man United retreated into damage limitation mode, keeping the ball and toying with their hosts for the remainder of the game, leaving Liverpool fans who wanted seven or eight - which at one stage looked likely yet alone merely realistic - slightly disappointed at 'only' winning 5-0.

Nevertheless, inflicting such humiliation on their greatest rivals - it was their biggest ever away win over Manchester United - will go down in history, and the Liverpool fans will not allow their Manchester counterparts to forget it any time soon.

> Click here for a full list of Liverpool's results from the 2021-22 season


As with the standout result, the list of possibilities for this award was very long given how much success Liverpool enjoyed this season.

The two domestic cup finals take some beating, particularly with the added drama of the penalty shootouts on both occasions, but the scenes at the end-of-season open-top bus parade may live even longer in the memory.

Many might have been expecting a more subdued atmosphere given that it was less than 24 hours after not just a disappointing defeat in the Champions League final, but also the preposterous chaos which preceded the final, but the Liverpool team were given a fitting send-off to the 2021-22 campaign.

Half a million people are thought to have lined the streets in celebration, and the joy of the players and coaching staff was clear to see, with captain Jordan Henderson even suggesting that it was one of the best days of his life.

While there were many great moments - from cup final wins to a 9-0 aggregate triumph over Manchester United - the parade encapsulated all of their success in one afternoon and allowed the fans to show just how highly they regard this special group of players.


Not for the first time in recent years, the focus for Liverpool this summer is likely to be on new contracts rather than big-money signings from elsewhere.

Klopp now boasts his best-ever squad at Liverpool, with strength in depth in every area of the field, so it is likely that the transfer business this summer may be similar to the last - selective, careful and limited, even accounting for the fact that Man City are bringing in Erling Braut Haaland.

However, Salah's contract situation has rumbled on for some time now and, while the Egyptian has confirmed that he will still be at the club next season, all parties will be keen to find a suitable agreement which enables him to stay on beyond the end of his current deal in 2023.

Sadio Mane is also out of contract in 2023 and is reportedly keen for a new challenge amid links to Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, so replacing him will be key after he re-established his importance to the team during the second half of this season.

The third member of that famed front three - Roberto Firmino - has fallen down the pecking order and will also see his contract expire in 2023, so it will be interesting to see whether Liverpool put as much emphasis on keeping the Brazilian as they do Salah.

Naby Keita's future is in doubt too with his deal running out next year, while more immediately Klopp will be keen to tie James Milner down to another one-year extension before June 30.

Origi will be leaving the club this summer, while there has also been talk of the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez moving on in search of more regular first-team football, but the main priority for Liverpool this summer is to have their key players follow Klopp in committing their futures to the club.


It may be a long time before any English club - yet alone Liverpool themselves - repeat the achievements of Klopp's men this term as far as their quadruple push is concerned.

There will be some disappointment at missing out on the Premier League title considering how the final day unfolded, but ultimately matters were taken out of their hands and to have pushed a truly great Man City side so close - having been 14 points adrift at one stage - is worthy of acknowledgment itself.

Some may look back at leads they squandered against Brentford, Man City, Brighton, Tottenham and Chelsea as chances missed, but it is difficult to find many criticisms of a team that reached the end of every competition possible, picked up two major trophies and accrued 92 points in the league.

History remembers winners, and while both a 20th top-flight crown and seventh European Cup eluded them this year, Liverpool did at least go some way towards adorning this great team with the trophy haul they deserve by winning a ninth League Cup and eighth FA Cup.

If you were to offer a season like that to any club in world football, they would bite your hand off.

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