UK Football Team - Liverpool F.C 1995-96

Having paid a national record £8.5million for Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore in the close season, Liverpool were many people's favourites for the league title in 1995–96 – especially as defending champions Blackburn Rovers had failed to significantly add to their squad and runners-up Manchester United had sold three key players but begun the season without a single major signing. 1994–95 had arguably been Liverpool's best season of the post-Dalglish era, as they had finished fourth and won the Football League Cup. They already possessed some of the country's finest young talent in the shape of prolific striker Robbie Fowler and talented midfielders Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp. Fowler would end the season as the second highest goalscorer in the country, behind Alan Shearer, while McManaman was the leading goal assists maker in the country, with 25 assists in the Premier League alone. But Liverpool failed in his title quest. The fault of a disaster november for the reds who failed to win any of their five games that month, losing 2–1 to Newcastle United, Everton and Middlesbrough in the league, in which they also drew 0–0 at West Ham United, and lost 1–0 to Newcastle United in the League Cup fourth round. They ended the month in seventh place, 14 points behind leaders Newcastle United. The title dream was now looking dead and buried with less than half of the season gone.

Liverpool's best chance of silverware appeared to be in the FA Cup, where they began with a 7–0 third round win over Rochdale in which Ian Rush set a new record for career goals scored in the competition. They had a similarly easy opposition in the fourth round, winning 4–0 at home to Shrewsbury Town, and booked their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1992 by beating Charlton Athletic 2–1 in the fifth round at the end of February. They were still going well in the league, keeping up the pressure on the leading pack of Newcastle United and Manchester United, though by 24 February they were still nine points behind Kevin Keegan's leaders and Alex Ferguson's second place title chasers. The quarter-final brought a 3–0 win in the replay against Leeds United after a goalless draw in the first match, and the month ended with a 3–0 semi-final win over Aston Villa which booked them an FA Cup final clash with Manchester United. The FA Cup final was played at Wembley Stadium on 11 May 1996. It was a relatively dull game despite all the hype that surrounded a clash under the twin towers for the nation's top two football sides, and with just five minutes remaining it was still deadlock and extra time was looking likely. However, in the 85th minute, David James punched clear a David Beckham corner, only for Eric Cantona to boot the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty area. Liverpool failed to even make a serious attempt to equalise and the trophy was won by their opponents for a record ninth time.

A sad season for the Reds very loyal fans with no title at the end but in 1995/96 season they saw some awesome football moments. In september a 5–2 win over newly promoted Bolton Wanderers (with Robbie Fowler scoring four times). On December, Robbie Fowler took his tally of goals against Manchester United for the season to four as he scored both goals in a 2–0 win at Anfield just over two months after netting twice in the 2–2 draw at Old Trafford. For the second season running, Robbie Fowler scored a league hat-trick at home to Arsenal, though this time in the space of nearly 40 minutes rather than the record breaking time of less than five minutes as had happened the previous season, as the Reds won 3–1. But the most exciting moment of the season at Anfiels was a 4–3 home win over Newcastle United – a match widely regarded as one of the most exciting league games of the 1990s :

P.S : I choose the game versus Newcastle for this season, but I like too the game against Villa in April, when Steve McMANAMAN and Robbie FOWLER destroyed Aston Villa's defense in the seven opening minutes ! Amazing duo with amazing goals ! Unstoppable

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