HistoryThe most games Liverpool have played in a single season
Liverpool resume their thrilling 2021-22 campaign this Saturday with Jürgen Klopp’s side continuing to pursue success in every competition they entered this season.
Having already lifted the Carabao Cup for a record ninth time at Wembley in February, the Reds will chase silverware across three more fronts during the campaign’s run-in.
They sit a point behind leaders Manchester City with nine games remaining in the Premier League, face Benfica over two legs in the Champions League quarter-finals and meet City in an Emirates FA Cup semi-final that falls in the middle of an incredible April schedule.
A maximum season total of 63 fixtures is possible by the end of May if Liverpool were to advance to the finals of both the Champions League and the FA Cup – a figure they last reached in 2015-16.
With so much football played and still to be played this term, we wondered about the highest number of matches the Reds have ever contested in one campaign.
As always, club statistician Ged Rea had the answers…
1984-85 – 64 games
Cup runs and extra one-off encounters in 1984-85 saw Joe Fagan’s Liverpool rack up the joint-third-highest amount of matches in a season in club history.
The Reds reached the FA Cup semi-finals and went to a replay against Manchester United that they narrowly lost 2-1 at Maine Road.
Having lifted Liverpool’s fourth European Cup the previous year, Fagan’s charges faced Independiente for the World Club Championship and then Juventus in the Super Cup. Both ended in defeat, just as the Charity Shield curtain-raiser had at the start of the term.
The squad’s defence of their European Cup crown continued all the way to the final, too, though it would end in tragedy at the Heysel Stadium disaster.
Bruce Grobbelaar and Phil Neal started every match.
1991-92 – 64 games
Domestic cup adventures contributed to an extended fixture schedule for the Reds during the last season before the inception of the Premier League.
Graeme Souness’ side squeezed in five League Cup ties as they were dumped out in the fourth round by Peterborough United and were even more busy in an FA Cup campaign that eventually ended in silverware.
Liverpool had to navigate three replays in a total of eight fixtures before reaching Wembley, including a tight semi-final with Portsmouth that was settled by a penalty shootout.
On top of their 42-game league schedule, there were eight continental ties as the club returned to European competition in the UEFA Cup and bowed out in their fourth two-legged game.
Once again, nobody could better Grobbelaar’s total of 55 appearances.
1972-73 – 66 games
A whopping 24 cup fixtures increased the demands on Bill Shankly’s team in a season when they achieved a First Division and UEFA Cup double.
Replays were required in four successive rounds of the League Cup and two in the FA Cup, and with little reward as Liverpool were eliminated before getting near the silverware.
They fared better in Europe, however, coming through six two-legged ties to clinch the UEFA Cup for the first time courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in the final.
Shankly’s men juggled those exploits alongside their league bread and butter expertly, finishing three points clear at the top to secure the championship.
Seven of the squad played 62 times or more, including three who were involved in every contest: Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler and Larry Lloyd.
1983-84 – 67 games
Out in front on this list is Fagan’s first season in the dugout, when the Reds helped themselves to a treble of league title, European Cup and League Cup.
The latter proved to be a particular endurance test, with 13 games needed – including a final replay against Everton – to eventually confirm Liverpool as winners.
They went all the way in the European Cup as well, eliminating Odense, Athletic Club, Benfica and Dinamo Bucharest over two legs before defeating Roma on penalties at their own Stadio Olimpico in the decider.
A mammoth campaign that had started with a loss in the Charity Shield concluded with three major honours added to the trophy cabinet.
If you have read this far, you will be able to guess that Grobbelaar topped the appearance chart, starting in each and every one of the team’s 67 outings – a feat matched by Alan Hansen, Alan Kennedy and Sammy Lee.