1998–99 Liverpool F.C. season

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Liverpool
1998–99 season
Manager England Roy Evans managers until November)
France Gérard Houllier
(from November)
Stadium Anfield
Premier League 7th
FA Cup Fourth round
Worthington Cup Fourth round
UEFA Cup Third round
Top goalscorer League:
Michael Owen (18)
All:
Michael Owen (23)
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

During the 1998–99 English football season, Liverpool F.C. competed in the FA Premier League (known as the FA Carling Premiership for sponsorship reasons). Following are the results of the 1998-99 regular season for the English football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside.

Competition Result Top scorer
Premier League 7th England Michael Owen, 18
UEFA Cup Third round Czech Republic Patrik Berger, 2
England Robbie Fowler, 2
England Michael Owen, 2
England Jamie Redknapp, 2
FA Cup Fourth round England Michael Owen, 2
League Cup Fourth round England Robbie Fowler, 1
England Paul Ince, 1
England Michael Owen, 1
Overall England Michael Owen, 23

Season summary[edit]

The appointment of former French national coach Gérard Houllier as joint manager alongside Roy Evans was seen as Liverpool's best chance of making a title challenge, but Evans did not enjoy the partnership and quit in November to leave Houllier in sole charge.

Despite Michael Owen's brilliant form, Liverpool were unable to mount anything like a title challenge and seemed to be a side in transition following the appointment of their new coach and adapting to a new style, which saw new signing Rigobert Song arrive and the likes of Jason McAteer and Rob Jones leave, along with the club's longest serving player Steve Harkness, who was transferred to Benfica on 7 March 1999 after almost 10 years at Anfield.

By January, the side was reshuffled but the failure of the club to retain the services of Steve McManaman, transferred to Real Madrid at the end of the season in a deal labelled as the Bosman scandal of the season, hurt the club financially. Performance wise, their seventh place finish was not enough to attain even a UEFA Cup place - as well as being the club's lowest finish for five years.

The season hadn't started badly, with a 2-1 win at Southampton followed by a goalless draw at home to the previous season's double winners Arsenal and an impressive 4-1 away win over Newcastle United just days after the Tynesiders had sacked former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish. September began with a 2-0 win over Coventry City which saw the Reds top the table after four games, level on points with Aston Villa, while title favourites Arsenal and Manchester United were fifth and ninth respectively.[1]

However, their lead of the Premier League was lost in their fifth game after they lost 2-1 at West Ham United. They travelled to Old Trafford for an encounter with fierce rivals Manchester United on 24 September, but lost 2-0. They were now fourth in the league, while United were third, unfancied Derby County were second and Aston Villa now led the league.[2]

15 September saw the beginning of the club's UEFA Cup quest, where they beat FC Kosice 3-0 in Slovakia. A comprehensive 5-0 win in the second leg booked Liverpool's place in the next round.

October was a mixed month for the Reds, who crushed Nottingham Forest 5-1 in the league at Anfield but were held to draws by Chelsea and Everton and ended the month with a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City which saw them still restricted to fourth place. However, they were now six points behind leaders Aston Villa - who had a game in hand - and more than a quarter of the league season had now passed. Manchester United were now one point off the top, while Arsenal had re-emerged as contenders for the title they had won the previous season and now occupied third place. Derby County's challenge had fallen away as they slipped to mid table.[3]

There was positive news on the European scene that late autumn as they edged past Valencia of Spain on away goals in the UEFA Cup second round.

The Football League Cup quest began well with a 3-1 home win over Division Two leaders Fulham in the third round, but ended in the next round with a 3-1 home defeat by a Tottenham Hotspur side who were recovering well from their dismal start to the season since the appointment of George Graham as manager. The first half of November was a disaster for the Reds, who lost at home to both Derby County and Leeds United. However, the month ended on a higher note as wins over Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers lifted them back up to eighth place.[4]

Liverpool's dreams of European glory were ended on 8 December 1998 when they suffered a hefty defeat to Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup third round. The Reds had stuttered in the league early in the month and a 1-0 defeat at Wimbledon on 13 December saw them occupy 12th place in the league.[5] However, three straight wins saw them rise to seventh by the end of the year.[6]

By the dawn of the new year, Liverpool's last hope of silverware was in the FA Cup. They had an easy start in the competition, travelling to Vale Park for a third round tie with Division One strugglers Port Vale, coming away 3-0 winners. However, their hopes of glory ended in the fourth round when they surrendered a 1-0 lead in the dying minutes to lose 2-1 to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Their dismal league form that month saw them draw 0-0 at Arsenal and lose 2-1 at Coventry City, though they had some wry consolation in the form of a 7-1 hammering of strugglers Southampton at Anfield, in a match that saw Robbie Fowler score his 100th Premiership goal. They were now sixth in the league, now being led by Chelsea, who were eight points ahead of them with a game in hand.[7]

Spring brought a similar pattern of results, and by 21 April they had slid down to 10th place in the league with even their UEFA Cup qualification hopes looking slim. They needed a good run of results to even finish eighth - the lowest position they had finished in since their current spell as a top flight club began in 1962.[8]

Wins over Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur kept the Reds in contention for European qualification with three games to go,[9] but a draw at home to Manchester United and a defeat at Sheffield Wednesday meant that a 3-0 home win over Wimbledon on the final day of the season wasn't enough for anything higher than seventh place - meaning that 1999-2000 would be Liverpool's first season in five years without European football.

Squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK David James
2 England DF Rob Jones
3 Norway DF Bjørn Tore Kvarme
4 Cameroon DF Rigobert Song
5 Republic of Ireland DF Steve Staunton
6 Republic of Ireland DF Phil Babb
7 England MF Steve McManaman
8 Norway MF Øyvind Leonhardsen
9 England FW Robbie Fowler
10 England FW Michael Owen
11 England MF Jamie Redknapp
13 Germany FW Karl-Heinz Riedle
14 Norway MF Vegard Heggem
15 Czech Republic MF Patrik Berger
16 Germany FW Sean Dundee
17 England MF Paul Ince
No. Position Player
18 France MF Jean Michel Ferri
19 United States GK Brad Friedel
20 Norway DF Stig Inge Bjørnebye
21 Scotland DF Dominic Matteo
22 Trinidad and Tobago GK Tony Warner
23 England DF Jamie Carragher
24 England MF Danny Murphy
25 England MF David Thompson
26 Denmark GK Jorgen Nielsen
27 Iceland MF Haukur Ingi Gudnason
28 England FW Steven Gerrard
29 England DF Stephen Wright
30 Mali DF Djimi Traore
England MF Jamie Cassidy
Wales DF Gareth Roberts

Left club during season[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
4 Republic of Ireland DF Jason McAteer (to Blackburn Rovers)
12 England DF Steve Harkness (to Benfica)
No. Position Player
Wales MF Danny Williams (to Wrexham)

Results[edit]

Pre-season and friendlies[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result

F–A

Scorers
24 July 1998 Crewe Alexandra A 3-1 Murphy 64', Matteo 65' Kvarme 67'
27 July 1998 Randers Freja A 1-1 Riedle 79'
29 July 1998 Rosenborg A 0-2
31 July 1998 St Patrick's Athletic [10] N 3-2 Berger 12', Riedle 29', Murphy 37'
1 August 1998 Leeds United [11] N 2-0 Berger 56', Owen 57'
4 August 1998 Inter Milan H 2-1 Ince 29', Harkness 76'
8 August 1998 Celtic A 1-0 Leonhardsen 36'
17 March 1999 Boulogne A 1-2 Berger 13'
18 May 1999 Sunderland [12] A 3-2 Fowler 39' (pen.), Redknapp 66', Ince 77'

FA Premier League[edit]

Classification[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Notes
1 Manchester United 38 22 13 3 80 37 +43 79 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League First group stage
2 Arsenal 38 22 12 4 59 17 +42 78
3 Chelsea 38 20 15 3 57 30 +27 75 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round
4 Leeds United 38 18 13 7 62 34 +28 67 1999–2000 UEFA Cup First round
5 West Ham United 38 16 9 13 46 53 −7 57 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup Third round
6 Aston Villa 38 15 10 13 51 46 +5 55
7 Liverpool 38 15 9 14 68 49 +19 54

FA Cup[edit]

League Cup[edit]

UEFA Cup[edit]

First round[edit]

Second round[edit]

Third round[edit]

References[edit]