English football during the 1989-90 league season was a lot different. Manchester United were a mid-table club and Alex Ferguson was struggling to keep his job at Old Trafford. Chelsea had just gained promotion to the first division whereas Everton were title contenders.

A top-flight campaign without Liverpool as the defending champions was a rarity and Arsenal were champions of England.

In the years that followed the picture completely changed. Manchester United became the superpower on English football scooping one title after another under Ferguson, Arsenal’s revolution under Arsene Wenger peaked in 2004 with the Invincibles before completely falling apart as Chelsea and Manchester City rose from nowhere to emerge as English football’s elite.

But nothing was more prominent and glaring than the fall from grace of Liverpool, the mighty Reds from Merseyside who had dominated English football during the 1980s.

The summer of 1989 was a tough one for Liverpool who had lost the title to Arsenal on the very last day of the previous campaign. Leading by three points coming into the last game the Reds only needed a draw to be crowned champions. A defeat by one-goal would have also taken care of the business. Starting as hot favourites, they were turned over by Arsenal who ran out 2-0 winners.

The club was still reeling from the Hillsborough disaster in April that had killed 96 supporters and injured 766 and affected the players mentally.


Yet, when Liverpool took to the field in the English first division, there was an inevitability about it being their year. No team apart from Liverpool had won back-to-back top-flight titles for the last thirty years. Hence, a Red backlash was on the cards.

Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool began strongly starting the campaign with an eight-game unbeaten streak. Peter Beardsley and John Barnes starred for the Reds in the run, so did Ian Rush.

Defeats to Southampton, Coventry City, Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday in quick time handed the initiative to arch-rivals Everton in November. However, with the festivities, the cheers returned to Anfield as Liverpool produced a champion’s response to the defeats.

A 13-game unbeaten run followed as Liverpool beat Manchester United and Everton on their way. A minor blip against Tottenham ended their unbeaten streak but the Reds picked up from where they left off to stitch another seven-game unbeaten run to win the title with a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Anfield.

Having lost the title in front of their own crowd a year ago, Liverpool made it up for their fans winning the title in Merseyside with two games to spare.


A nine-point winning margin was considered a sign of Red dominance in the 1990s but Dalglish’s departure midway through next season triggered a downward spiral for Liverpool. There was red domination in the 1990s but it came from Manchester as Ferguson’s United took charge of English football and eclipsed Liverpool’s haul of 18 league titles in 2011. The Reds, without a league title since, have largely been out of contention at the top barring few sporadic challenges.

At the time, few would have believed that Liverpool would go without an English top-flight title for 30 years. Maybe the rebranding of the English first division into the Premier League took all the luck away from the Reds.

Today as Liverpool sit 25 points ahead of their nearest rivals in the Premier League table all set to end their agonising wait for the English crown, the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening to wipe off the season. And if you are a Liverpool fan, you might start to believe that the Reds are cursed now.