Liverpool FC: The Top 5 Highlights of 2011
As hard as it is to believe, another year has passed, and so much has changed in the footballing world.
That includes at Liverpool, who, on New Year's Eve last year found themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League, but who now are very much in the mix.
Indeed, much has changed at Anfield in the past year, and many of those changes have brought direct success. There have been the highlights and the lowlights, and both have had big effects on the club as a whole.
But since it's Christmas, we'll just look at the highlights. Here are the five best Liverpool moments from the year that has been.
5. The 2011 Summer Transfer Window
Clint Hughes/Getty Images
In the 2011 Summer Transfer Window, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish made seven major moves aimed at bolstering his squad.
He brought in goalkeeper Alexander Doni to solidify the backup position in the net; the team's long-term left-back issue was solved with the signing of Jose Enrique; Sebastian Coates added size, strength, and youth to the heart of defense; Charlie Adam, one of the better players in the previous Premier League season, was brought in after a relentless chase; Stewart Downing was signed as a high-profile attacking player; Jordan Henderson, though overpriced, was acquired with the hope that he would one day be able to replace Steven Gerrard; and Craig Bellamy was brought in to add some grit and versatility to the front line.
In all, Kenny Dalglish spent well over £50 million improving his team.
The window marked the point where Dalglish officially made his mark as manager. A team that had been in free-fall now has a new look and a new feel, and the only place to go from here is up.
4. 6 March 2011: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sitting in sixth place, Liverpool took on Premier League leaders Manchester United in a crunch match at Anfield.
Roy Hodgson's time at the club had left its scars, and the Reds were desperate for points. Simply put, they had to win. They did.
Liverpool controlled the game, owning 53 percent of possession and generating more offensive chances than their arch-rivals. Luis Suarez's second game with the club saw the Uruguayan set up all three goals, all finished off by Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt.
The game was a statement from the Reds, sending a message to their rivals that they were coming back.
3. 29 November 2011: Reaching the Semi-Final of the League Cup
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Kenny Dalglish holds the League Cup very close to heart. No other club in English football has won more of the title than Liverpool—Dalglish won the first four of those.
The team wants success in this competition, and so far this season, they have seen it.
When Liverpool defeated Chelsea by a score of 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in late November, it marked the first time they had reached the semifinals of the League Cup since the 2004-05 season, when they finished runners-up.
Liverpool fans need to realize that, at the moment, the League Cup is the best chance at a trophy.They may have reached the semis, but it is important they go head first into the games against Manchester City, and go on to win it all.
2. 31 January 2011: Liverpool Sign Luis Suarez
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
33 Appearances, 12 Goals, 11 Assists
Those are the numbers that forward Luis Suarez has managed since completing a £23 million move to Liverpool from Ajax at the end of the January Transfer Window.
It would be an understatement to say that Suarez has become a key part of the Liverpool attack since his transfer. He has played a major part in improving the team to the point where they are now competing for a Champions League spot.
The price paid has been worth every penny, and we all hope it will continue to pay dividends.
1. 8 January 2011: King Kenny Dalglish Takes Over As Liverpool Manager
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
When Liverpool relieved manager Rafa Benitez of his duties and hired Roy Hodgson, it was with the hope that he would turn around a team that had been in a downward spiral for several years.
By the 8th of January 2011, the club were sitting in 12th, having taken just 25 points from 20 games, and were coming off a brutal 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers.
The team was doing worse than before, and a change had to be made. Hodgson was fired, and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish was reinstalled as manager, just under 20 years after he had resigned from that post.
Dalglish's appointment marked the beginning of a new era for Liverpool. Since then, he has turned the club around to the point where they are now flirting with the top four again. Liverpool is a club that deserves greatness—a club that should be contending for Premier League titles year after year.
With Dalglish at the helm, the Reds could bring home a title sooner rather than later.
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95