Why the feeling around Liverpool could not be more different compared to last meeting with Leeds

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp (L) talks with owner John W. Henry during the opening of the newly built stand at Liverpool football club's Anfield Stadium

In 2009, there was more focus off the field when it came to Liverpool rather than on it, while now there is a real feeling of optimism surrounding the club.

The last time Liverpool were preparing to face Leeds United in the League Cup there was a very different atmosphere around the club. 

The Reds travelled to Yorkshire to witness a solitary David N'gog strike ensure their passage through to the fourth round of the competition in what would be a very difficult season for the Reds. They would have no silverware to show for their efforts, and it would be Rafa Benitez's last season as manager of the club. 

David Ngog  of Liverpool in action with Leeds' Jason Crowe (R)David Ngog of Liverpool in action with Leeds' Jason Crowe (R)

Back then, the talk was about the direction the club was going in under their owners of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Liverpool had just come off the back of a title challenge - losing out to Manchester United the season before - but there was no sign of progress in the transfer market.

Nine years ago today was when a backlash was beginning to build up a head of steam against the ownership of the club. Liverpool fans took to the streets to march in support of Benitez ahead of a 4-1 win over Porto in the Champions League, as there were plenty of noises suggesting the Spaniard was about to be removed from his post.

That signalled the start of a real struggle - and splits emerged in the fanbase. In September 2009 ahead of their clash with Leeds, some were beginning to ask the question if Liverpool were destined for a similar predicament as their opponents - with supporters union Spirit of Shankly asking if the Reds were becoming the next Leeds United?

The club was saddled with unsustainable debt and players were being sold in order to service it. Xabi Alonso sold one summer to Real Madrid, Javier Mascherano would also head to La Liga for Barcelona a year later. Their transfer fees were going a long way to servicing the debt. There were worries of administration and bankruptcy for the year that followed, and if the club were to survive then it would tumble down a couple of divisions like Leeds did.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp (L) talks with owner John W. Henry during the opening of the newly built stand at Liverpool football club's Anfield StadiumLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp (L) talks with owner John W. Henry 

Fast forward to now, and a lot has changed. Fenway Sports Group bought the club out in 2010 and while they have made their fair share of mistakes, and probably won't satisfy every Liverpool fan, there is no question that the club is better run.

It's reflected with the redevelopment of the Main Stand at Anfield - rather than just nice drawings of a stadium that hung on a wall in Tom Hicks's house during an interview. While Liverpool may have made money in the recent transfer window, there seems to be no qualms from Jürgen Klopp about the resources available to him, he feels he has sufficient support - and the side itself is showing signs of sustained progress on the field as well.

The feeling surrounding Liverpool now is one of optimism and hope compared to over seven years ago when trepidation and worry was the order of the day. The difference, regardless of the result at Anfield tomorrow, could not be more stark.

Liverpool manager Juergen KloppLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp

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