On the last day of August 2014, Liverpool travelled to play Tottenham away, much like they will do this weekend, but the Reds’ squad that turns up in North London this time will be leaps and bounds ahead of it’s past iteration and will be a signal of just how far the club has come in four years.
Back then, heading into the tie with Tottenham, Liverpool had beaten Southampton and lost to Manchester City at the start of the season that followed the fateful year when the Reds came within touching distance of their first Premier League title.
The Merseysiders, managed by Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers, somehow won the game 3-0 though and produced a convincing away performance to dispatch Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the Argentine’s third competitive game in charge of the club.
Now though, with hindsight, it’s easy to see why the Reds would end the 2014/15 season in sixth place, two points behind Tottenham, thanks to the players available to Rodgers.
Perhaps foolishly, the Liverpool boss had taken a chance to sign former Manchester City bad boy and mercurial talent Mario Balotelli in the summer having sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona, and the win over Spurs was the Italian’s debut.
After Balotelli had missed a sitter, it was Raheem Sterling who opened the scoring after just nine minutes and Steven Gerrard doubled the Reds’ advantage from the penalty spot soon after half-time.
With an hour of the game gone and Liverpool 2-0 up, new signing Alberto Moreno, who had joined in the summer from Sevilla for £12m, announced himself to the Premier League by dispossessing Andros Townsend and showing the Spurs winger a clean pair of heels.
Moreno drove forward from his own half and into the Spurs box, before driving a low shot across Hugo Lloris and into the far corner of the net.
The left-back then ran over to the jubilant Liverpool fans, who presumably thought they’d found a gem and that he would be at the club for years to come.
Unfortunately for them though, only the latter of these predictions would come true. The goal against Spurs would be about as good as it got for the Spaniard during his time on Merseyside, although he has somehow managed to remain at the club and now warms the bench watching the new Scotland captain Andrew Robertson cement his place as one of the best, if not the best, left-back in the league.
The rest of the squad on that day have fared no better though, Simon Mignolet started in goal and he too now sits on the bench watching new signing Alisson. The back four consisted of current Newcastle man Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren (before he was one of the self-proclaimed best defenders in the world), Mamadou Sakho and Moreno, who has since proved himself incapable of defending.
Reds fans should be thankful for the bargain purchase of Joe Gomez and the considerably more expensive, but unbelievably important, signing of Virgil van Dijk.
With Gerrard on his way out, Joe Allen and now club-captain Jordan Henderson were deployed in the box to box roles by Rodgers on that day, in a midfield that is no match for the current squad which includes the likes of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner.
With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane now perhaps the most feared attacking trio in the Premier League, there is solid proof that German boss Jurgen Klopp has developed the squad and the club so well that the days of Balotelli are now long-forgotten.
Yes, Liverpool won that game in 2014 and yes, no trophy has been won in the time since but whatever the score is this weekend, fans of the Reds should be lifted by simply looking at the calibre of the players that are available now compared to four years earlier.