Part 2: 2020-21’s Most Memorable Moments
While there will be many parts of the past season Liverpool fans will be happier to forget, the Reds’ struggles through much of 2021 set up a final stretch that produced moments that will be be replayed and talked about for years to come. With the season now over, the staff of The Liverpool Offside take a look back at some of the things they’ll remember from the season that was.
This season has felt mostly like a blur—and most of the memorable moments early were, of course, bad ones. That Merseyside Derby was real gut-wrenching stuff: major injuries and injustice and VAR at the death. Truly tough to take, and for a time that match seemed like it would go down as the defining moment of the season.
There were good bits, too, though, and not just in these final few matches: that Firmino goal (and his run towards the Kop to celebrate) against Tottenham and the seven-goal thriller against Palace certainly stand out, and not just because those goals ended up keeping our hopes alive in the tail end.
BOSS! Every angle of Firmino's late winner vs Spurs
EVERY angle of Bobby's late winner against Tottenham Hotspur and THAT celebration ❤️Posted by Liverpool FC on Thursday, December 17, 2020
January through to April is a mess in my head, though. It was a reminder of how hard it is to watch football when it feels like there’s nothing in it: not just that the team is poor, but that there’s no journey, no end goal. When games start feeling like a chore rather than a welcome release. But then the Reds came back into it, and gave us a narrative; made the games mean something.
I’m not taking that win at Old Trafford entirely at face value, because fans being absent does change things, but my word putting four past United is always going to be a defining moment of a campaign. And our goalkeeper scored. I’m sure we’ll all mention that—the goal, the composure, the emotional release of the celebration.
The most important thing, though, is that the Reds made these moments matter through sheer force of will. They refused to let the season be a foregone conclusion. Achieving Champions League football against the odds is so, so important, but it also does things like let Alisson’s header be more than an interesting footnote, and instead be an iconic goal in a campaign that mattered. Imagine following anyone else.
The obvious choice is Alisson’s header, and that’s the clear standout. But beyond that, I think I’d have to say I really appreciated the return of fans both around Christmas and then for the final home game. It’s one of the few times during the pandemic when life has felt something close to normal.
I mean, it’s the easy answer, but it has to be Alisson’s last gasp header against West Brom, right? It kept Liverpool’s slim hopes of a top four finish alive. And it was a freaking header from a freaking goalie. For the first time in the 128-year history of Liverpool Football Club. To top it off, it really was a top class header too.
It doesn’t make sense, even weeks later, that Alisson scored the best header I’ve ever seen. He’s a goalkeeper. They’re not supposed to score goals. So yeah, that’s the goal of the season. That’s the goal of the decade. That’s the goal of my lifetime.
Getting a win at Old Trafford is always great—but thumping them after they rested their first-teamers against Leicester? That was tremendous, and more than any individual goals that victory is what I’m going remember most about this season.
In terms of pure Moments, Alisson’s header is the standout pick, the one that will go down in history and highlight reels, but I want to highlight Trent’s injury time top-bin belter against Villa back in April as an underrated and necessary reminder at a crucial time that the mentality monsters were still around.
Look. I mean. It’s Alisson’s goal against West Brom, isn’t it? It’s fresh in our memories and came during that final push when Liverpool won five in a row to secure a Champions League place that appeared lost for most of 2021. That’s the good memory, if you’re trying to drill down to one thing to counter all the bad, all the injuries and missed chances and the growing feeling good results weren’t possible that started when Everton’s Jordan Pickford lunged wildly into Virgil van Dijk at knee level and knocked him out for the season. Though I suppose as moments go, that one was pretty memorable, too.
Still, there are other positive moments I’ll remember, especially from those final five games. I loved the way Mohamed Salah celebrated putting the game against Manchester United away in the 90th minute. The cathartic release as the Egytpian pumped his fists in the air and collapsed backwards onto the pitch was glorious, and until Alisson’s late goal three days later, that felt like the image that would define the Reds’ late push for the top four. And we can’t forget about the importance of Nat Phillips’ goal line clearance against Burnley, three days after Alisson scored his goal.
And beyond those individual moments in that late top four push, I think I’ll keep a few fond memories of the early months of the season, while Liverpool’s defence was still fit and it felt like new signing Diogo Jota was scoring a goal every five minutes. That was fun. I want to see Liverpool with everyone fit doing more of that next season.
Since Alisson’s goal has been mentioned, I’ll go in a bit of a different, more personal direction and say randomly receiving a Firmino home kit from a member of this community just after Christmas. It was a completely unexpected, generous gesture that brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of how awesome being a part of this fanbase and this community can be. Opening that package and realizing what it was after several minutes of complete cluelessness was a feeling I will not soon forget, and I’ll cherish that.
It’s Alisson’s goal. I don’t care how many of us mention this but it’s Alisson’s goal. I’m sure other stuff happened but I honestly can’t remember anything beyond That Goal. It was a perfect header at the perfect moment and exactly what the team and the fans needed.
Did anyone mention Alisson’s goal yet? There’s really not that much more to say, other than the fact that it was a moment that reminded me why I love football and stirred that small, shrivelled, black heart of mine back to life after a solid year of feeling dead inside.
The obvious answer has to be Alisson’s goal, but since that’s been mentioned quite a few times, I’ll end things on another note. Namely that while I don’t know what the future holds for them, I’ve really enjoyed seeing both Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams take advantage of the opportunities they’d been given.
Not only did they prove themselves, but their combined efforts during the final few weeks might have ultimately been what saved Liverpool’s season. There’s a picture floating around of the two of them after the Crystal Palace game. Their heads are both bleeding, but they’re both smiling up at the fans in the crowd. That pretty much encapsulates the season for me. That’s the image from 2020-21 that I’m going to remember.