1996–97 Liverpool F.C. season
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|FA Cup||Fourth round|
|League Cup||Fifth round|
|Cup Winners' Cup||Semi-finals|
Robbie Fowler (18)
Robbie Fowler (31)
|Average home league attendance||38,436|
|Premier League||4th||Robbie Fowler, 18|
|UEFA CWC||Semi-finals||Robbie Fowler, 7|
|FA Cup||Fourth round||Stan Collymore, 2|
|League Cup||Fifth round||Robbie Fowler, 5|
|Overall||Robbie Fowler, 31|
Until late March, Liverpool had led the Premiership for most of the season, even opening up a five point lead at the top before New Year's Day 1997. However, the team were overtaken by Manchester United, who remained top of the league for the rest of the season, despite Liverpool having two or three more chances to reclaim the position before falling away badly due to mistakes and a lack of discipline. Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler continued to excel for the club, but Fowler's suspension for the final four games of the season effectively ended any lingering hopes of title glory, and the side were marred both by the rise of their Spice Boys culture, as well as by defensive aberrations; dropping points at their previously impregnable Anfield home. Liverpool's finishing in 4th place was the shock of the season as they had been challenging for the title all along, with the additional fact that on the final day of the season, despite having lost the league title to Manchester United, they were in second place, two points ahead of Newcastle and Arsenal, leaving Roy Evans and his team with a UEFA Cup place as scant consolation for what might have been. Former defender Mark Wright stated in an interview that this was the season in the 1990s that the Liverpool team truly had the talent and opportunity to win the title but threw it away: "We did come close to winning the league a few times and we finished fourth one season when we were the best team. We were better than Manchester United, better than everyone, and we finished joint second but ended up fourth because of goal difference. That was the season we should have won the title and we all know that. I remember some of the games we lost and the way we dropped points against certain sides. David James dropped a few clangers and I remember them because in certain games he didn't have anything to do, then all of a sudden he thinks he's got to be involved in the game. He would come rushing out and all of a sudden you would be 1-0 down", he said.
Final league table
|14.||West Ham United||38||10||12||16||39||48||42|
Note: Middlesbrough deducted 3 points for failing to fulfil a fixture.
|Qualified for the Champions League|
|Qualified for the UEFA Cup|
|Qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup|
|Relegated to Division One|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|15||MF||Patrik Berger||Borussia Dortmund||£3,250,000||1 August 1996|
|28||MF||Nick Rizzo||Sydney Olympic||Free||1 September 1996|
|3||DF||Bjørn Tore Kvarme||Rosenborg||Free||10 January 1997|
|27||GK||Stephen Pears||Hartlepool United||Free||1 June 1996|
|18||MF||Phil Charnock||Crewe Alexandra||Free||6 December 1996|
|3||DF||John Scales||Tottenham Hotspur||£2,600,000||11 December 1996|
|1 17 August 1996||Middlesbrough||3–3||Liverpool||Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire|
|15:00||Ravanelli 26' (pen.), 36', 81'||Bjørnebye 4'
|Stadium: Riverside Stadium
|2 19 August 1996||Liverpool||2–0||Arsenal||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|20:00 BST||McManaman 68', 74'||Stadium: Anfield
Referee: Gary Willard
|3 24 August 1996||Liverpool||0–0||Sunderland||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|4 4 September 1996||Coventry City||0–1||Liverpool||Coventry, West Midlands|
|19:45||Babb 68'||Stadium: Highfield Road
|5 7 September 1996||Liverpool||2–1||Southampton||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Magilton 68'||Stadium: Anfield
|6 15 September 1996||Leicester City||0–3||Liverpool||Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Berger 58', 77'
|Stadium: Filbert Street
|7 21 September 1996||Liverpool||5–1||Chelsea||Liverpool, Merseyside|
Berger 42', 49'
Myers 45' (o.g.)
|Leboeuf 85'||Stadium: Anfield
|8 29 September 1996||West Ham United||1–2||Liverpool||Newham, London|
|Bilić 15'||Collymore 3'
|9 12 October 1996||Manchester United||1–0||Liverpool||Trafford, Greater Manchester|
|Beckham 23'||Stadium: Old Trafford
|10 27 October 1996||Liverpool||2–1||Derby County||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Fowler 47', 51'||A. Ward 89'||Stadium: Anfield
|11 3 November 1996||Blackburn Rovers||3–0||Liverpool||Blackburn, Lancashire|
|Sutton 3' (pen.), 56'
|Stadium: Ewood Park
|12 16 November 1996||Leeds United||0–2||Liverpool||Leeds, West Yorkshire|
|Stadium: Elland Road
|13 20 November 1996||Liverpool||1–1||Everton||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Fowler 30'||Speed 82'||Stadium: Anfield
|14 23 November 1996||Liverpool||1–1||Wimbledon||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Collymore 1'||Leonhardsen 67'||Stadium: Anfield
|15 2 December 1996||Tottenham Hotspur||0–2||Liverpool||Haringey, London|
|Stadium: White Hart Lane
|16 7 December 1996||Liverpool||0–1||Sheffield Wednesday||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Whittingham 21'||Stadium: Anfield
|17 14 December 1996||Liverpool||5–1||Middlesbrough||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Fowler 1', 28', 77', 85'
|Fjørtoft 75'||Stadium: Anfield
|18 17 December 1996||Liverpool||4–2||Nottingham Forest||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Collymore 6', 63'
Lyttle 53' (o.g.)
|19 23 December 1996||Newcastle United||1–1||Liverpool||Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear|
|Shearer 28'||Fowler 45'||Stadium: St. James' Park
|20 26 December 1996||Liverpool||1–1||Leicester City||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Collymore 80'||Claridge 76'||Stadium: Anfield
|21 29 December 1996||Southampton||0–1||Liverpool||Southampton, Hampshire|
|Barnes 76'||Stadium: The Dell
|22 1 January 1997||Chelsea||1–0||Liverpool||Fulham, London|
|Di Matteo 43'||Stadium: Stamford Bridge
|23 11 January 1997||Liverpool||0–0||West Ham United||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|24 18 January 1997||Liverpool||3–0||Aston Villa||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|25 1 February 1997||Derby County||0–1||Liverpool||Derby, Derbyshire|
|Collymore 75'||Stadium: Baseball Ground
|26 19 February 1997||Liverpool||4–0||Leeds United||Liverpool, Merseyside|
Collymore 36', 37'
|27 22 February 1997||Liverpool||0–0||Blackburn Rovers||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|28 2 March 1997||Aston Villa||1–0||Liverpool||Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Taylor 83'||Stadium: Villa Park
|29 10 March 1997||Liverpool||4–3||Newcastle United||Liverpool, Merseyside|
Fowler 42', 90'
|30 15 March 1997||Nottingham Forest||1–1||Liverpool||Nottingham|
|Woan 30'||Fowler 4'||Stadium: City Ground
|31 24 March 1997||Arsenal||1–2||Liverpool||Islington, London|
|20:00 GMT||Wright 78'||Collymore 50'
Referee: Gerald Ashby
|32 6 April 1997||Liverpool||1–2||Coventry City||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Fowler 52'||Whelan 65'
|33 13 April 1997||Sunderland||1–2||Liverpool||Sunderland, Tyne and Wear|
|Stewart 53'||Fowler 33'
|Stadium: Roker Park
|34 16 April 1997||Everton||1–1||Liverpool||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Ferguson 65'||Redknapp 26'||Stadium: Goodison Park
|35 19 April 1997||Liverpool||1–3||Manchester United||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Barnes 19'||Pallister 13', 42'
|36 3 May 1997||Liverpool||2–1||Tottenham Hotspur||Liverpool, Merseyside|
|Anderton 5'||Stadium: Anfield
|37 6 May 1997||Wimbledon||2–1||Liverpool||Croydon, London|
|Owen 74'||Stadium: Selhurst Park
|38 11 May 1997||Sheffield Wednesday||1–1||Liverpool||Sheffield|
|Donaldson 75'||Redknapp 83'||Stadium: Hillsborough