Liverpool return to the Champions League tonight for the first time in five years when they take on Bulgarian champions Ludogorets at Anfield.
For a team that has such an illustrious history in Europe’s elite club competition, an absence of five years has proved far too long.
But a look at the starting line-up the last time the Reds fielded a Champions League team may go some way to explaining why.
Of the 11 players who started the Reds’ dead rubber fixture with Fiorentina on 9th December 2009 – a game the Reds lost 2-1 at Anfield – only Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard remain at the club.
The inclusion of the likes of Stephen Darby, Emiliano Insua, Andrea Dossena and Alberto Aquilani showed Liverpool were very much a team on the decline back in 2009.
And things were to get worse when Roy Hodgson arrived and Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres (a substitute that night) left the club in the 18 months that followed.
In fact when you think about that, five years without Champions League football isn’t much of a surprise is it?
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