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Reliving 2008/09 – Facts, killer draws and Rafa’s supreme Liverpool pipped at the post

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Liverpool had flirted with the end of their barren run without a league title, but Rafa Benitez’s 2008/09 side would face an all too familiar agony come seasons end.

After the league defeat to Spurs, Liverpool went 15 games unbeaten but eight of those were draws, with the defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough bookending a season-defining run.

But it was the transfer which never came to fruition which proved a key talking point at that time and even to this day, one which lingered into the following summer and ultimately resulted in Xabi Alonso leaving Anfield for Real Madrid.

And who can forget the infamous ‘facts’ rant which, contrary to popular belief, actually saw Liverpool propel to greater heights and not wilt under the pressure.

It is the summer of 2008 and Liverpool’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett remain at odds with one another and seemingly all associated with the club, while Benitez’s battle in the board room sets off a chain reaction with both instantaneous and future repercussions.

Having finished the previous season in fourth place and with a third Champions League semi-final in as many years, there was ever-rising confidence for the season ahead.

Liverpool quickly asserted their dominance, both players and fans were buoyed by the misfortune of the opposition, and it was only time before they landed the killer blow – one which arrived in the form of Ryan Babel in the 77th minute – with Nemanja Vidic later handed his staple red card against us.
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