Grading Liverpool's season - all targets missed

Anfield Night

No trophies, no Champions League football, not good.

There is little doubt that the season that has just passed has been a disappointing one for Liverpool Football Club. After a summer of busy transfer activity in order to bolster the squad on four fronts, and to try and kick on from their unexpected title challenge the previous season, the Reds flattered to deceive.

Here is a closer look at their season - Targets: Qualifying for the Champions League, reaching the last-16 stage of the Champions League, winning a trophy.

Liverpool failed to hit any of the targets that were outlined at the start of the season. They finished eight points and two places behind Manchester United in their league campaign, which had a very disappointing start, an improving/promising middle stage, but a horrid ending, culminating in a 6-1 defeat away to Stoke City on the final day.

On the trophy front, the two ways in which they missed out on silverware were markedly different. They were gallant losers in the semi-final of the League Cup in extra time after two legs, with many regarding them as unlucky to go out to eventual winners Chelsea. Contrasting that to the manner in which they lost to Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the FA Cup is like comparing night and day. 

They lost the lead, but when they fell behind they offered nothing. They were absolutely toothless on a day when Liverpool's players didn't show up on the big occasion - a symptom of some of their big games in the Premier League as well, just look at their defeat to Manchester United at Anfield. 

Their Champions League campaign was also feeble. After an unconvincing win over Ludogorets in the first game, the remainder of the campaign was forgettable. An ultimately costly defeat in Switzerland to Basel, two defeats to Real Madrid - one of which featured a weakened team in the Bernabeu - was followed by Liverpool struggling in Bulgaria, ultimately conceding a late equaliser, and a poor performance against Basel when they didn't believe they could qualify for the knockout stages until 10 minutes were left in the game. 

Their Europa League campaign was a brief one. After a dogged 1-0 win over Besiktas in the first leg at Anfield, they failed to capitalise on chances they created in Istanbul - and their exit is now remembered more for the awful Dejan Lovren penalty in the shootout that decided the contest.

Many of the nine signings made in 2014 have offered little to suggest that they have long-term futures at Anfield, and the loss of Steven Gerrard and potential departure of Raheem Sterling means a difficult summer lies ahead.

Unfortunately for the Reds, no trophies, more doubts about the club's direction and no Champions League football means their season gets a big, fat F.

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