How does the current trophy drought compare to ones of the past?

Carl Clemente

Liverpool’s six-year season trophy drought is the longest in the Premier League era – but nowhere near what past generations of Liverpool fans had to wait for. Carl Clemente takes us back to find out which other generations of the Anfield faithful had to be patient when waiting for their heroes to lift silverware.

Just like any other avid Liverpool supporter – I have a great feeling of optimism about the forthcoming season. I’m confident Jürgen Klopp will succeed in his burning desire to break the clubs’ trophy drought, which is currently the fourth longest in Liverpool’s 125 year history and the second longest since the Second World War.


Seventeen seasons without a trophy

The longest time period Liverpool Football Club has gone without winning silverware is seventeen seasons. However, in reality, fans during this era had to wait twenty-three years; until they saw their team lift another trophy. This was due to the suspension of all national competitions during WWII.

More than two decades had passed since the Reds last won the First Division Trophy in 1923, but the wait was soon over when the league restarted after the conclusion of the war in 1946. George Kay’s team along with Liverpool legends, which included: Bill Jones, Captain Jack Balmer, Albert Stubbins and the great Billy Liddell ended the seventeen season trophy drought by clinching the First Division Title at Molineux against Wolves in May 1947.


Fourteen seasons without a trophy

Straight after the long awaited title win of 1947 – Liverpool immediately went on their second longest trophy drought in their 125 year history until the 1961/62 season when the Reds, now under the leadership of Bill Shankly, won the Second Division Title and returned to the top flight after eight years of absence.

Two years later in 1964 Shankly and his team won the First Division Title for the first time in seventeen years, which is also the club’s second longest time without winning the top prize in English football. Nobody needs reminding that the longest time The Reds have gone without winning the League Title is twenty-eight years from 1990 to the present day.

Furthermore, In 1964 Liverpool was playing some of the greatest football their fans had ever seen. This was all put down to the natural enthusiasm Shankly drilled into his players. The fans now believed their team was invincible and would go on to achieve greatness. And they weren’t wrong at all! The barren period which lasted an incredible forty-one years, in which the Reds only won two trophies was finally over.


Eleven seasons without a trophy

The third longest trophyless period in the Reds history started shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. Liverpool fans had to wait eleven long seasons after witnessing their team win the First Division Title in 1906 until they won it again in 1922 under the leadership of David Ashworth.

Not to mention, on this occasion, the search for honours was more than worth the wait. It was the first time in Liverpool’s history that the club had won back-to-back League Championships. A team best known for their goalkeeping hero Elisha Scott, who played 468 times for Liverpool, went on to retain the First Division Title the following season in 1923.

It’s worth pointing out that during the first three barren spells in Liverpool’s history the League Cup wasn’t available to win as it wasn’t established until 1960. Moreover, European competitions weren’t set up until the 1950s. Therefore, along with the Charity Shield, clubs back then only really had the opportunity to win two major honours per season, the League Championship and the FA Cup.

Whereas, nowadays, teams who managed to qualify for European competitions, at the start of each campaign have four chances of silverware and the teams who didn’t qualify for Europe still have three opportunities of adding a trophy to their honours list. It’s needless to say, the less competitions teams compete in, the less chance they have of winning – which could explain the lack of trophies that Liverpool won from 1892 until the 1960s!

After winning the League Championship in 1964, Liverpool fans were treated to two more seasons of their team adding major honours to their tally. The following year in 1965, Ron Yeats lifted the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history, followed by Shankly’s second League Title win in 1966. After a slight dip in progress and five seasons without winning a trophy, Shankly made some substantial changes to his squad which was the catalyst that really sent the Reds onto greatness. From 1973 to 1992, Liverpool went nineteen years winning a least one trophy per season apart from the 1984/85 campaign.

Nonetheless, during this campaign, Bob Paisley’s Liverpool were European Champions, finished second in the League, were European Cup finalists and runners-up in three other competitions. It was hardly a disastrous season. What a time it must have been to be a Red!


Six seasons without a trophy

Returning to the present day, The Reds fourth longest trophy drought is their current one, which is dragging on and becoming extremely frustrating for its supporters. Not only is it twenty-eight years since Liverpool last won the League Title, but also the Reds haven’t won a single trophy in the last six seasons.

Although, Kenny Dalglish’s side did manage to beat Cardiff City in the League Cup final in 2012, for many fans the League Cup is not held in the same regard as winning the Premier League, FA Cup or a European trophy. Consequentially, only adding one League Cup in twelve years to the Anfield trophy cabinet has been a completely different experience for the latest generation of Liverpool fans.

Furthermore, to add to this frustration, since winning the League Cup in 2012, Liverpool have finished runners-up in the League and lost four consecutive finals, two domestically and two in Europe. Therefore, the occasions and experiences have been there for the fans to enjoy, but obviously not in the same way as their parents and grandparents would have lived. For instance, from Shankly’s first league win in 1964 to 2006 when Steven Gerrard lifted the FA Cup, Liverpool won fifty-two trophies in forty-two years.

Nevertheless, the Reds are improving immensely on the pitch and have now qualified for the Champions League for consequctive seasons for the first time in ten years. Jürgen Klopp and his staff have no doubt strengthened the squad over their last two years. Therefore, without a doubt, sooner rather than later, these recent final disappointments will turn into winning occasions and the current drought will be finally over!