1996–97 Liverpool F.C. season

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1996–97 season
Chairman David Moores
Manager Roy Evans
Premier League 4th
FA Cup Fourth round
League Cup Fifth round
Cup Winners' Cup Semi-finals
Top goalscorer League:
Robbie Fowler (18)
Robbie Fowler (31)
Average home league attendance 38,436
Home colours
Away colours

During the 1996–97 English football season, Liverpool F.C. competed in the FA Premier League (known as the FA Carling Premiership for sponsorship reasons).

Competition Result Top scorer
Premier League 4th England Robbie Fowler, 18
UEFA CWC Semi-finals England Robbie Fowler, 7
FA Cup Fourth round England Stan Collymore, 2
League Cup Fifth round England Robbie Fowler, 5
Overall England Robbie Fowler, 31

Season summary[edit]

Liverpool led the Premiership for much of the season, and established a five-point lead at the top before New Year's Day 1997. However, the team were overtaken by Manchester United in the latter stages of the season, and it was United who ultimately won the league, though Liverpool squandered several more chances to reclaim the top position.[1] The side were marred both by the rise of the "Spice Boys" culture, as well as by defensive aberrations; dropping points at their previously impregnable Anfield home. A 2-1 home defeat against bottom of the table Coventry City denied Liverpool the chance to return to top spot with six games to go, United having lost at home to Derby the previous day.[2] Indeed, a win over United at Anfield in April would have put Liverpool top with just three matches to go, but United won 3-1 to effectively clinch the title.[3] The title lost, Liverpool still went into the final match of the season in second place with a two-point lead over Newcastle and Arsenal, but a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday meant they ended up finishing 4th on goal difference, thus missing out on a place in the newly expanded UEFA Champions League[4] and leaving Roy Evans and his team with a UEFA Cup place as scant consolation for a season which had promised much and giving rise to the phrase "finishing fourth in a two horse race".

In the cups there was more disappointment. Liverpool's UEFA Cup Winners' Cup campaign ended in the semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Paris St Germain. In the FA Cup they lost 4-2 to eventual winners Chelsea in the fourth round, having led 2-0 at half-time and squandered chances to extend their lead. Liverpool were knocked out in the Coca-Cola Cup quarter-finals by eventual finalists Middlesbrough.

The side were nevertheless praised for their attractive attacking style of football. Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler continued to excel for the club, and Fowler continued his prolific strike partnership with Stan Collymore, scoring 47 goals between them. Fowler's suspension for the final four games was a big blow and effectively ended any lingering hopes of title glory. Fowler also received a UEFA Fair Play award, for protesting that he had not been fouled by Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman when the referee awarded a penalty kick. The season also saw the debut of teenage prodigy Michael Owen.

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:[5] "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[edit]

Pos Team Pl W D L F A Pts
1. Manchester United 38 21 12 5 76 44 75
2. Newcastle United 38 19 11 8 73 40 68
3. Arsenal 38 19 11 8 62 32 68
4. Liverpool 38 19 11 8 62 37 68
5. Aston Villa 38 17 10 11 47 34 61
6. Chelsea 38 16 11 11 58 55 59
7. Sheffield Wednesday 38 14 15 9 50 51 57
8. Wimbledon 38 15 11 12 49 46 56
9. Leicester City 38 12 11 15 46 54 47
10. Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 7 18 44 51 46
11. Leeds United 38 11 13 14 28 38 46
12. Derby County 38 11 13 14 45 58 46
13. Blackburn Rovers 38 9 15 14 42 43 42
14. West Ham United 38 10 12 16 39 48 42
15. Everton 38 10 12 16 44 57 42
16. Southampton 38 10 11 17 50 56 41
17. Coventry City 38 9 14 15 38 54 41
18. Sunderland 38 10 10 18 35 53 40
19. Middlesbrough *** 38 10 12 16 51 60 39
20. Nottingham Forest 38 6 16 16 31 59 34

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

First-team 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 England DF John Scales
3 Norway DF Bjorn Kvarme
4 Republic of Ireland DF Jason McAteer
5 England DF Mark Wright
6 Republic of Ireland DF Phil Babb
7 England MF Steve McManaman
8 England FW Stan Collymore
9 England FW Robbie Fowler
10 England MF John Barnes
11 England MF Jamie Redknapp
12 England DF Steve Harkness
No. Position Player
13 Trinidad and Tobago GK Tony Warner
14 England DF Neil Ruddock
15 Czech Republic MF Patrik Berger
16 England MF Michael Thomas
18 England FW Michael Owen
19 Republic of Ireland DF Mark Kennedy
20 Norway DF Stig Inge Bjørnebye
21 Scotland DF Dominic Matteo
22 England MF Jamie Cassidy
23 England DF Jamie Carragher
24 Wales FW Lee Jones
25 England MF David Thompson
26 Denmark GK Jørgen Nielsen



# Pos Player From Fee Date
15 MF Czech Republic Patrik Berger Germany Borussia Dortmund £3,250,000 1 August 1996
28 MF Australia Nick Rizzo Australia Sydney Olympic Free 1 September 1996
3 DF Norway Bjørn Tore Kvarme Norway Rosenborg Free 10 January 1997


# Pos Player To Fee Date
27 GK England Stephen Pears England Hartlepool United Free 1 June 1996
18 MF England Phil Charnock England Crewe Alexandra Free 6 December 1996
3 DF England John Scales England Tottenham Hotspur £2,600,000 11 December 1996


Premier League[edit]

Top scorers[edit]

Premier League[edit]