|Chairman||Tom Hicks and George Gillett|
|FA Cup||Fourth round|
|League Cup||Fourth round|
|UEFA Champions League||Quarter-finals|
Steven Gerrard (16)
Steven Gerrard (24)
|Highest home attendance||
44,424 vs. Arsenal |
(21 April 2009)
|Lowest home attendance||
28,591 vs. Crewe Alexandra |
(23 September 2008)
|Average home league attendance||43,611|
The 2008–09 season was the 117th season of competitive football played by Liverpool. It began on 1 July 2008 and concluded on 20 June 2009, with competitive matches played between August and May. Liverpool finished the previous season in fourth place behind Manchester United and Chelsea and Arsenal. The club ended the campaign in second place, four points behind Manchester United, with a record of 25 wins, 11 draws and 2 losses. Liverpool fared below par in the cups, eliminated in the fourth round of the FA Cup and League Cup by Everton and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. They exited the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals to Chelsea.
Liverpool purchased a few players in the transfer market early in the season, with Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena and Diego Cavalieri arriving in early July. Those arrivals were supplemented with the addition of striker Robbie Keane from Tottenham and midfielder Albert Riera later in the transfer window. Goalkeeper Scott Carson and striker Peter Crouch were sold in the summer transfer window, while six months after arriving Keane was sold back to Tottenham in the winter transfer window.
Liverpool began the season in good form; they won eight of their first ten matches before suffering a loss against Tottenham. They picked up their form after the loss and a 5–1 victory over Newcastle United at the end of 2008, ensured they would be top going into the new year. Three successive draws at the turn of the year meant Manchester United caught Liverpool and a 2–0 loss at the end of February to Midlesbrough dented their hopes of winning the league. After the loss, Liverpool won ten of their final eleven matches, which included a 4–1 victory over Manchester United. The run was not enough to overhaul United and they finished four points behind in second place.
Twenty-six different players represented the club in four competitions, and there were 16 different goalscorers. Liverpool's top goalscorer was Steven Gerrard, who scored 24 goals in 44 matches. Defender Jamie Carragher made the most appearances during the season with 54.
The 2007–08 season was unsuccessful for Liverpool. Despite new signing Fernando Torres scoring 33 goals in all competitions, including 24 in the Premier League, Liverpool finished in fourth place, 11 points behind eventual winners Manchester United. The club fared little better in the cup competitions. They exited the FA Cup in the fifth round, losing 2–1 to Championship club Barnsley at Anfield. A 2–0 defeat against Chelsea resulted in the club's exit from the League Cup in the quarter-finals. Liverpool fared better in European competition, where they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. For the fourth consecutive year in the competition, they faced Chelsea, but lost the tie 4–3 on aggregate.
Liverpool made a number of additions to their squad during the pre-season. Defenders Philipp Degen and Andrea Dossena were the first to arrive from Borussia Dortmund and Udinese respectively. Goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri was signed from Brazilian club Palmeiras as backup to Pepe Reina, while French striker David N'Gog joined from Paris Saint-Germain. The biggest signing of the summer transfer window was the purchase of striker Robbie Keane from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £19.3 million. Midfielder Albert Riera joined from Spanish club Espanyol at the end of the summer transfer window.
At the end of the 2007–08 season, Liverpool sold a number of players. Defender John Arne Riise was sold to Serie A club Roma after seven years at the club. Forward Anthony Le Tallec was sold to French club Le Mans, while midfielder Harry Kewell joined Turkish club Galatasaray on a free transfer. Later in July, striker Peter Crouch joined his former club, Portsmouth, for £11 million and goalkeeper Scott Carson was sold to West Bromwich Albion. Defender Steve Finnan and midfielder Danny Guthrie left the club in August to join Espanyol and Newcastle United respectively. During the January transfer window, striker Robbie Keane returned to Tottenham after only six months at the club. Sebastián Leto joined Olympiacos on a two-year loan after his application for a work permit was rejected, while striker Andriy Voronin was loaned to Hertha BSC.
The biggest change going into the new season was Chelsea appointing Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari as manager to replace Avram Grant. When asked for his opinion on Scolari, Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez stated, "He is a good manager with a lot of experience and passion. Chelsea are a good team with a strong squad and I thought Avram Grant did a good job for them, and Scolari will want to do the same." Chelsea were regarded as the favourites to challenge champions Manchester United for the title, while Liverpool were expected to struggle initially as their new signings adapted to the squad. The Guardian's Paul Doyle opined, "If they are to sustain a challenge for the title beyond Christmas, Liverpool will have to develop the offensive diversity and unpredictability to turn last season's costly draws against smaller teams into victories."
|27||DF||Philipp Degen||Borussia Dortmund||Free||4 July 2008|||
|2||DF||Andrea Dossena||Udinese||£7,000,000||4 July 2008|||
|1||GK||Diego Cavalieri||Palmeiras||£3,000,000||11 July 2008|||
|24||FW||David N'Gog||Paris Saint-Germain||£1,500,000||24 July 2008|||
|7||FW||Robbie Keane||Tottenham Hotspur||£19,300,000||28 July 2008|||
|FW||Vitor Flora||Botafogo||Free||1 September 2008|||
|42||GK||Péter Gulácsi||MTK||Undisclosed||1 September 2008|||
|11||MF||Albert Riera||Espanyol||£8,000,000||1 September 2008|||
|6||DF||John Arne Riise||Roma||£4,000,000||1 July 2008|||
|FW||Anthony Le Tallec||Le Mans||£1,100,000||5 July 2008|||
|7||MF||Harry Kewell||Galatasaray||Free||5 July 2008|||
|GK||Scott Carson||West Bromwich Albion||£3,250,000||18 July 2008|||
|15||FW||Peter Crouch||Portsmouth||£11,000,000||11 July 2008|||
|3||DF||Steve Finnan||Espanyol||Undisclosed||1 September 2008|||
|MF||Danny Guthrie||Newcastle United||£2,250,000||11 July 2008|||
|7||FW||Robbie Keane||Tottenham Hotspur||£12,000,000||2 February 2009|||
|33||MF||Sebastián Leto||Olympiacos||5 August 2008|||
|10||FW||Andriy Voronin||Hertha BSC||1 September 2008|||
|12 July 2008||Tranmere Rovers||A||W||1–0||Benayoun 43'||15,000|
|16 July 2008||Luzern||A||W||2–1||Lucas 10', Voronin 36'||9,500|
|19 July 2008||Wisła Kraków||A||D||1–1||Voronin 6'||6,000|
|22 July 2008||Hertha BSC||A||D||0–0||51,684|
|30 July 2008||Villarreal||A||D||0–0||22,000|
|2 August 2008||Rangers||A||W||4–0||Torres 22', N'Gog 56', Benayoun 58', Alonso 70' pen.||50,223|
|5 August 2008||Vålerenga||A||W||4–1||Alonso 19', Torres 49', Benayoun 60', N'Gog 84'||25,337|
|8 August 2008||Lazio||H||W||1–0||Voronin 90+3'||43,062|
A total of 20 teams competed in the Premier League in the 2008–09 season. Each team played 38 matches; two against every other team and one match at each club's stadium. Three points were awarded for each win, one point per draw, and none for defeats. At the end of the season the top two teams qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League; teams in third and fourth needed to play a qualifier. The provisional fixture list was released on 16 June 2008, but was subject to change in the event of clashes with other competitions, international football, inclement weather, or matches being selected for television coverage.
Liverpool travelled to Sunderland on the opening weekend of the season. The match was goalless until the 83rd when striker Fernando Torres scored from 25 yards (23 m) to secure a 1–0 victory for the club. The following weekend, Liverpool hosted Middlesbrough at Anfield. The visitors went ahead in the 70th minute when Mido scored. They appeared to be heading for victory, until the 86th minute when Jamie Carragher's shot deflected off Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz into the Middlesbrough goal. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Steven Gerrard scored from the edge of the penalty area to secure a 2–1 victory for Liverpool. A trip to Villa Park to face Aston Villa was next for Liverpool. Torres was forced off with an injury within the first half-hour and both sides failed to capitalise on chances to win, as the match finished 0–0.
Due to international fixtures, Liverpool did not play another game for two weeks. On the resumption of club football, they faced reigning champions Manchester United at home. Liverpool started without Gerrard and Torres, who were substitutes following their return from injury. The visitors took the lead in the third minute when Carlos Tevez scored. An own goal by United defender Wes Brown levelled the score in the 27th minute. Liverpool took control of the match following their equaliser, but it was not until the 71st minute that they asserted their dominance, when substitute Ryan Babel scored. United's misery was compounded when defender Nemanja Vidić was sent off in the 90th minute for a second bookable offence. The win marked the first time, Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez had beaten United in the League since his arrival in 2004.
The following weekend, Stoke City were the visitors to Anfield. Liverpool appeared to have taken the lead in the second minute when Gerrard scored from a free kick, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Despite a number of chances, neither side was able to score and the match finished 0–0. Benítez was adamant Gerrard's goal should not have been disallowed stating: "Nobody knows why the effort was ruled out." Liverpool's next match was against local rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby. Following a goalless first half, Torres scored twice in three minutes to secure a 2–0 win. Torres was confident Liverpool could challenge for the title following the victory: "We know if we can stay near the top of the table in January or February we can win it."
Manchester City were the opposition the following week, as Liverpool travelled to their home ground, the City of Manchester Stadium. A poor first-half saw them go 2–0, following goals from Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido. However, Liverpool improved in the second half and two goals from Torres levelled the score. A draw appeared likely until Dirk Kuyt scored in the 90th minute to give Liverpool a 3–2 victory. The following weekend, Liverpool faced Wigan Athletic at Anfield. Liverpool went behind when Wigan striker Amr Zaki opened the scoring, Kuyt equalised in the 37th minute, before Zaki scored again in the 45th minute. Liverpool struggled to find an equaliser until the 80th minute when Riera scored. Kuyt scored again in the 85th minute, to secure a 3–2 victory for Liverpool. The following weekend, they travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. A Xabi Alonso goal in the 10th minute was enough to secure victory for Liverpool, as they won the match 1–0, becoming the first team since February 2004 to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. Three days later, a Gerrard penalty in the 76th minute secured a 1–0 home victory over Portsmouth.
Liverpool faced Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, the following weekend. They took the lead in the 3rd minute, when Kuyt scored. However, an own goal by Carragher and a last-minute goal from Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko meant Liverpool suffered their first loss of the season in the Premier League. Liverpool rebounded the following week as they beat West Bromwich Albion 3–0 at Anfield, courtesy of two goals from Keane and one from Álvaro Arbeloa. They faced Bolton Wanderers the following weekend, at the Reebok Stadium, with goals from Kuyt and Gerrard securing a 2–0 victory. Liverpool hosted Fulham at Anfield the following weekend. They were without injured captain Gerrard for the match, but welcomed back Torres from injury. However, his return did not have the desired impact, as Liverpool failed to score, drawing 0–0. After the match, manager Benítez lamented his side's performance: "It was a bad day, we did not have enough energy and we did not pass the ball well enough."
West Ham United were the next opposition, and the match at Anfield finished with the same scoreline. Despite their inability to convert their chances, Liverpool moved to the top of the table following the draw. Liverpool travelled to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers in their next match and returned to winning ways with a 3–1 victory. Goals from Alonso, Yossi Benayoun and Gerrard secured victory for Liverpool. Liverpool hosted Hull City in their next match, but they fell behind to a goal from defender Paul McShane and an own goal by Carragher. Liverpool recovered through two goals from Gerrard, but were unable to score any further goals, with the match finishing 2–2. Writing in The Observer, Duncan Castles stated the result was "no way to win a title", ridiculing Benítez's claim that the title was 80 per cent Liverpool's if they were top at Christmas. Liverpool travelled to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal the following weekend. Arsenal striker Robin van Persie opened the scoring in the 24th minute, but Keane equalised in the 42nd minute. Despite Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor being sent off in the 62nd minute, Liverpool were unable to score a winning goal and the match finished 1–1.
Liverpool faced Bolton Wanderers at Anfield on Boxing Day. A first half goal by Riera and two in the second half by Keane secured a 3–0 victory. Two days later, Liverpool travelled to St James' Park to face Newcastle United. Two goals from Gerrard, and one each from Sami Hyypiä, Babel and a penalty from Alonso, gave Liverpool a 5–1 victory. The result meant Liverpool had a four-point lead at the top of the table going into the new year. Following the match, captain Gerrard was arrested over an incident in a bar where it was alleged that he punched a man over a row about music. He was subsequently cleared of the charges in July.
On 10 January 2009, Liverpool faced Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. In his pre-match press conference, manager Benítez attacked Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, over observations he had made about upcoming fixtures. Liverpool subsequently drew the match 0–0 with Stoke City. Benítez was content with the result: "It is a game we could win but we could also have lost too, and it was important not to lose. When we play against 10 men and an organised team it is not easy." Nine days later, Liverpool faced local rivals Everton at Anfield. Gerrard scored from 25 yards (23 m) in the 68th minute to give Liverpool the lead. However, they were unable to hold onto the lead as Everton midfielder Tim Cahill scored in the 87th minute to level the score at 1–1.
Liverpool's next match was against Wigan Athletic at the JJB Stadium. Midfielder Benayoun gave Liverpool the lead in the 41st minute, but like the previous two matches, they were unable to hold onto the lead. Midfielder Lucas conceded a penalty for a foul on Jason Koumas, which was converted by striker Mido on his debut in the 83rd minute to level the score at 1–1. The result saw Liverpool drop to third in the table. Liverpool faced Chelsea in their next match at Anfield. Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was sent off in the 60th minute for a foul on Alonso, but Liverpool struggled to make their numerical advantage count. It was not until the 89th minute, that they did so, when Torres headed in a cross from Fábio Aurélio. Torres scored again a minute later, to give Liverpool a 2–0 victory.
Liverpool travelled to Fratton Park for their next match against Portsmouth. They fell behind in the 62nd minute when David Nugent scored. Aurelio leveled the score with a free kick before Hermann Hreiðarsson gave Portsmouth the lead again. Kuyt equalised with five minutes remaining before Torres scored 'a dramatic late header' to secure a 3–2 win for Liverpool. Liverpool hosted Manchester City once club football resumed following the international break. A 'poor Liverpool' drew the match 1–1 to fall further behind leaders Manchester United after they had beaten Blackburn. Liverpool faced Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium the following weekend. Their 'title ambitions were dealt a severe blow' as Middlesbrough won the match 2–0.
Sunderland was the opposition at Anfield in a midweek match. Goals from N'Gog and Benayoun secured a 2–0 victory for Liverpool. Following the resumption of club football after the international break, Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford to face league leaders Manchester United. Liverpool were trailing United by seven points, who had a game in hand, as they went into the match. Liverpool went behind to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, before Gerrard and Torres scored to give them a 2–1 lead at half-time. Further goals from Aurelio and Dossena secured a 4–1 victory for the club, which reduced their deficit to United to four points. Liverpool hosted Aston Villa the following weekend. A win was imperative after rivals Manchester United lost to Fulham. A Gerrard hat-trick with goals from Kuty and Riera secured a 5–0 win, as they moved to one point behind United. Manager Benitez was confident Liverpool could keep the pressure on United: "Clearly we have confidence and the team is playing well. But we must just wait to see what happens next to United, while we must keep going and keep the team playing at this level."
Liverpool travelled to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in their next match. They needed to win to keep the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table. Liverpool struggled to break down the Fulham defence, with Dossena and Alonso hitting the crossbar, while Torres hit the post with a shot. However, Benayoun secured a 1–0 victory with a 'dramatic injury-time winner.' The following weekend Liverpool hosted Blackburn Rovers. A 4–0 victory was secured courtesy of two goals from Torres and one from Daniel Agger and N'Gog. Ten days later, Liverpool faced Arsenal at Anfield. They went behind to a goal from Andrey Arshavin in the first half, but goals from Torres and Benayoun early in the second half gave them a 2–1 lead. Arshavin scored two goals in three minutes before Torres scored again to level the score at 3–3. Arshavin scored his fourth goal in the last minute, but Benayoun scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to secure a 4–4 draw.
Liverpool travelled to the KC Stadium four days later to face Hull City. Two goals from Kuyt and one from Babel secured a 3–1 victory for the club. Newcastle United were the opposition the following weekend at Anfield. Goals from Benayoun, Kuyt and Lucas secured a 3–0 victory for Liverpool.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Manchester United (C)||38||28||6||4||68||24||+44||90||2009–10 UEFA Champions League Group stage[a]|
|4||Arsenal||38||20||12||6||68||37||+31||72||2009–10 UEFA Champions League Play-off round|
|5||Everton||38||17||12||9||55||37||+18||63||2009–10 UEFA Europa League Play-off round[a]|
|16 August 2008||Sunderland||A||W||1–0||Torres 83'||43,259|||
|23 August 2008||Middlesbrough||H||W||2–1||Pogatetz 86' o.g., Gerrard 90+4'||43,168|||
|31 August 2008||Aston Villa||A||D||0–0||41,617|||
|13 September 2008||Manchester United||H||W||2–1||Brown 27' o.g., Babel 77'||44,195|||
|20 September 2008||Stoke City||H||D||0–0||43,931|||
|27 September 2008||Everton||A||W||2–0||Torres (2) 59', 62'||39,574|||
|5 October 2008||Manchester City||A||W||3–2||Torres (2) 55', 73', Kuyt 90'||47,280|||
|18 October 2008||Wigan Athletic||H||W||3–2||Kuyt (2) 37', 85', Riera 80'||43,868|||
|26 October 2008||Chelsea||A||W||1–0||Alonso 10'||41,705|||
|29 October 2008||Portsmouth||H||W||1–0||Gerrard 76' pen.||43,378|||
|1 November 2008||Tottenham Hotspur||A||L||1–2||Kuyt 3'||36,183|||
|8 November 2008||West Bromwich Albion||H||W||3–0||Keane (2) 34', 43', Arbeloa 90+3'||43,451|||
|15 November 2008||Bolton Wanderers||A||W||2–0||Kuyt 28', Gerrard 73'||24,893|||
|22 November 2008||Fulham||H||D||0–0||43,589|||
|1 December 2008||West Ham United||H||D||0–0||41,169|||
|6 December 2008||Blackburn Rovers||A||W||3–1||Alonso 69', Benayoun 79', Gerrard 90+4'||26,290|||
|13 December 2008||Hull City||H||D||2–2||Gerrard (2) 24', 32'||43,835|||
|21 December 2008||Arsenal||A||D||1–1||Keane 42'||60,094|||
|26 December 2008||Bolton Wanderers||H||W||3–0||Riera 26', Keane (2) 53', 58'||43,548|||
|28 December 2008||Newcastle United||A||W||5–1||Gerrard (2) 31', 66', Hyypiä 36', Babel 50', Alonso 77' pen.||52,114|||
|10 January 2009||Stoke City||A||D||0–0||27,500|||
|19 January 2009||Everton||H||D||1–1||Gerrard 68'||44,382|||
|28 January 2009||Wigan Athletic||A||D||1–1||Benayoun 41'||21,237|||
|1 February 2009||Chelsea||H||W||2–0||Torres (2) 89', 90+4'||44,174|||
|7 February 2009||Portsmouth||A||W||3–2||Aurélio 69', Kuyt 85', Torres 90+2'||20,527|||
|22 February 2009||Manchester City||H||D||1–1||Kuyt 78'||44,259|||
|28 February 2009||Middlesbrough||A||L||0–2||33,724|||
|2 March 2009||Sunderland||H||W||2–0||N'Gog 52', Benayoun 66'||41,587|||
|14 March 2009||Manchester United||A||W||4–1||Torres 28', Gerrard 44' pen., Aurélio 77', Dossena 90+1'||75,569|||
|22 March 2009||Aston Villa||H||W||5–0||Kuyt 8', Riera 33', Gerrard (3) 39' pen., 50', 65', pen.||44,131|||
|4 April 2009||Fulham||A||W||1–0||Benayoun 90+2'||25,661|||
|11 April 2009||Blackburn Rovers||H||W||4–0||Torres (2) 5', 33', Agger 83', N'Gog 90'||43,466|||
|21 April 2009||Arsenal||H||D||4–4||Torres (2) 49', 72', Benayoun (2) 56', 90+4'||44,424|||
|25 April 2009||Hull City||A||W||3–1||Alonso 45', Kuyt (2) 63', 89'||24,942|||
|3 May 2009||Newcastle United||H||W||3–0||Benayoun 22', Kuyt 28', Lucas 87'||44,121|||
|9 May 2009||West Ham United||A||W||3–0||Gerrard (2) 2', 38, Babel 84'||34,951|||
|17 May 2009||West Bromwich Albion||A||W||2–0||Gerrard 28', Kuyt 63'||26,138|||
|24 May 2009||Tottenham Hotspur||H||W||3–1||Torres 31', Hutton 64' o.g., Beanyoun 81'||43,937|||
Liverpool entered the competition in the third round, by virtue of their Premier League status. Their opening match was away against Preston North End. A goal from Riera in the first half and a last minute goal by striker Fernando Torres secured a 2–0 victory for Liverpool at Deepdale.
Liverpool were drawn against local rivals Everton at home in the fourth round. A Joleon Lescott goal in the first half gave Everton the lead, which they held until the 54th minute when Gerrard equalised. Either club was unable to score a winning goal and the match finished 1–1. The tie was replayed at Goodison Park on 4 February 2009. No goals were scored during 90 minutes, so the match went to extra time. With two minutes remaining, Everton midfielder Dan Gosling scored to secure a 1–0 victory.
|Third round||3 January 2009||Preston North End||A||W||2–0||Riera 24', Torres 90+3'||23,046|||
|Fourth round||25 January 2009||Everton||H||D||1–1||Gerrard 54'||43,524|||
|Fourth round replay||4 February 2009||Everton||A||L||0–1 (a.e.t.)||37,918|||
The League Cup is a cup competition open to clubs in the Premier League and Football League. Like the FA Cup it is played on a knockout basis, with the exception of the second round and semi-finals, which are contested over a two-legged tie. Together with the other clubs playing in European competitions, Liverpool entered the League Cup in the third round. They were drawn to face Crewe Alexandra on 30 August 2008. Benítez fielded a relatively young team for the tie, which took the lead in the 15th minute when Agger scored. Crewe equalised ten minutes later when Michael O'Connor scored. A goal by Lucas in the second half secured a 2–1 victory for Liverpool.
Liverpool faced Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round. They fell behind in the 38th minute when Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko scored. Tottenham extended their lead four minutes later courtesy of a Fraizer Campbell goal. A further goal before half-time for Campbell, gave Tottenham a 3–0 lead. Damien Plessis pulled a goal back for Liverpool early in the second half, but three minutes later Pavlyuchenko scored again to extend Tottenham's lead. A Hyypiä goal in the 63rd minute was the final goal of the match, which Liverpool lost 4–2, exiting the competition.
|Third round||23 September 2008||Crewe Alexandra||H||W||2–1||Agger 15', Lucas 58'||28,591|||
|Fourth round||12 November 2008||Tottenham Hotspur||A||L||2–4||Plessis 49', Hyypiä 63'||33,242|||
As Liverpool finished fourth in the league the previous season, the club played a qualifying round against Standard Liège to ensure progression into the group stages. A 0–0 draw in the first leg meant the tie hinged on the result of the second leg at Anfield. With the match goalless in extra time, Kuyt scored to give Liverpool a 1–0 victory. Liverpool were drawn in Group D along with Atlético Madrid, Marseille and PSV Eindhoven.
Liverpool's first match in the group was away to Marseille. Two goals courtesy of Gerrard gave Liverpool a 2–1 victory over the French team. The next match at Anfield against PSV resulted in a 3–1 victory for Liverpool, with Keane scoring his first goal for the club. Atlético Madrid were the opponents in the third matchday at the Vicente Calderón Stadium. Keane scored again, but a goal for Atlético by Simão meant the match finished 1–1. The score in the reverse fixture at Anfield was the same, with Gerrard scoring a penalty in the 95th minute after Maxi Rodríguez had given Atlético the lead. Liverpool faced Marseille in the fifth match of the group stage and secured progression to the knockout phase, after winning 1–0 thanks to a Gerrard goal. Liverpool's last match was at the Philips Stadion against PSV, which they won 3–1. They finished top of the group with 14 points after 4 wins and 2 draws.
Liverpool were drawn against Spanish team Real Madrid in the knockout phase. They won the first leg 0–1 at the Santiago Bernabéu thanks to a Benayoun goal. Fernando Torres opened the scoring for Liverpool in the second leg at Anfield, before two penalties from Gerrard and a goal from Dossena secured a 4–0 victory and a 5–0 aggregate win. Chelsea were the opposition in the quarter-finals, marking the fifth consecutive season that the two sides had met in the competition. Liverpool took the lead in the first leg at Anfield when Torres scored in the sixth minute. However, two goals from defender Branislav Ivanović and one from striker Didier Drogba secured a 3–1 victory for Chelsea. Liverpool scored two goals in the first half through Aurélio and Alonso to level the tie at 3–3. Drogba, defender Alex and midfielder Frank Lampard scored to give Chelsea a 3–2 and a three-goal advantage in the tie midway through the second half. However, Liverpool scored two late goals through Lucas and Kuyt to take a 4–3 lead in the match, with one more goal sufficient to progress to the semi-finals courtesy of the away goals rule. A further goal by Lampard in the 89th minute ended any hopes of a comeback as the match was drawn 4–4, with Chelsea winning the tie 7–5 on aggregate.
|Third qualifying round||13 August 2008||Standard Liège||A||D||0–0||27,500|||
|Third qualifying round||27 August 2008||Standard Liège||H||W||1–0||Kuyt 117'||43,889|||
|Group stage||16 September 2008||Marseille||A||W||2–1||Gerrard (2) 26', 32' pen.||44,841|||
|Group stage||1 October 2008||PSV||H||W||3–1||Kuyt 4', Keane 34', Gerrard 76'||41,907|||
|Group stage||22 October 2008||Atlético Madrid||A||D||1–1||Keane 14'||48,769|||
|Group stage||4 November 2008||Atlético Madrid||H||D||1–1||Gerrard 90+5' pen.||42,010|||
|Group stage||26 November 2008||Marseille||H||W||1–0||Gerrard 23'||40,024|||
|Group stage||9 December 2008||PSV||A||W||3–1||Babel 45+2', Riera 68', N'Gog 77'||33,500|||
|Round of 16||25 February 2009||Real Madrid||A||W||1–0||Benayoun 82'||71,579|||
|Round of 16||10 March 2009||Real Madrid||H||W||4–0||Torres 16', Gerrard (2) 28' pen., 47', Dossena 88'||42,550|||
|Quarter-final||8 April 2009||Chelsea||H||L||1–3||Torres 6'||42,543|||
|Quarter-final||14 April 2009||Chelsea||A||D||4–4||Aurélio 19', Alonso 28' pen., Lucas 81', Kuyt 83'||38,286|||
Liverpool used a total of 28 players during the season, with 18 different goalscorers. The team played in a 4–2–3–1 formation throughout the season. Carragher featured in 54 matches, the most of any Liverpool player during the campaign. Along with Reina and Kuyt, he appeared in every Premier League match. Gerrard was the top goalscorer with 24 goals. Lucas was the only player to be sent off during the season—he was shown a red card during Liverpool's replay of their fourth round FA Cup tie with Everton.
No. = Squad number
Pos = Playing position
Nat. = Nationality
Apps = Appearances
GK = Goalkeeper
DF = Defender
MF = Midfielder
FW = Forward
|No.||Pos.||Nat.||Name||Premier League||FA Cup||League Cup||Champions League||Total||Discipline|
|31||FW||MAR||Nabil El Zhar||15||0||0||0||2||0||2||0||19||0||3||0|
Liverpool's performance during the season resulted in the club's personnel winning a number of awards. Benítez was named Premier League Manager of the Month twice in October and March, while Gerrard was named Premier League Player of the Month for March. Gerrard was named Football Writer's Association Footballer of the Year for the first time and he was also named as the Professional Footballer's Association (PFA) Fans' Player of the Year. Gerrard was nominated for the PFA Players' Player of the Year, but the award went to Manchester United's Ryan Giggs instead. Gerrard and teammate Fernando Torres were named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Gerrard and Torres were nominated for the Ballon d'Or at the end of 2009, but they ranked 10th and 11th respectively behind winner Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Both players were also nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year, but finished eighth and sixth respectively behind winner Messi. Gerrard and Torres were named in the FIFPro World XI for 2009.