18th League Title

This period saw Liverpool clinch their 18th league title, finishing nine points ahead of runners-up Aston Villa, despite facing significant challenges from Villa and local rivals Everton. Their campaign for a double was thwarted by a dramatic 4–3 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace, a team they had beaten 9–0 earlier in the season. Key player movements included the departure of striker John Aldridge to Spain and the addition of Swedish defender Glenn Hysén, while Ian Rush‘s return bolstered the attack. Keep it here because the upcoming sections will explore Liverpool’s journey in other competitions, the players who made significant impacts, and how the 18th league title influenced the club’s future.

18th League Title: Overview of Historic Events

Liverpool’s 18th league title pre-season included participation in the four-team Makita International Tournament at Wembley Stadium, where they defeated Dinamo Kiev but lost to Arsenal in the final. Following this, they toured Scandinavia, achieving wins against Malmö FF and Halmstads BK and draws with Vasalunds IF and HJK Helsinki. The season began with the Charity Shield, where Liverpool, as FA Cup holders, faced league champions Arsenal. They secured a 1–0 victory courtesy of a Peter Beardsley goal. The league campaign kicked off with a 3–1 win over Manchester City, followed by away draws with Luton Town and Aston Villa. They ended August with a 2–0 friendly defeat to Real Madrid, sitting fifth in the league.

September saw a mix of league and cup action, starting with a 3–0 win at Derby County and a remarkable 9–0 victory over Crystal Palace at Anfield, featuring eight different goalscorers. John Aldridge scored in his final game before leaving for Real Sociedad. Following a 0–0 home draw with Norwich City, they defeated Wigan Athletic 5–2 in the League Cup and triumphed 3–1 in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

18th League Title

In October, Liverpool faced Wigan again, winning 3–0 in the League Cup. They beat Wimbledon 2–1 but suffered a 4–1 defeat to Southampton and a 1–0 loss to Arsenal in the League Cup. A 1–0 win over Tottenham Hotspur saw them regain the top spot in the First Division. Competitors included Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, Southampton, Norwich, and Aston Villa.

November was challenging, beginning with a 1–0 home defeat to Coventry City and a 3–2 loss at QPR. Wins against Millwall and Arsenal were followed by a 2–0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool’s first game at Hillsborough since the tragedy. Despite these setbacks, they ended the month leading the league on goal difference, tied with Arsenal, Villa, and Chelsea. December improved with a 4–1 win at Manchester City and victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic. Liverpool closed the decade leading the league by four points over Aston Villa and Arsenal, with Tottenham emerging as new contenders. Everton and Manchester United struggled, trailing significantly behind.

Entering the new decade in January, Liverpool drew 2–2 at Nottingham Forest and survived an FA Cup scare against Swansea City, ultimately winning the replay 8–0. In the league, they drew 2–2 with Luton and beat Crystal Palace 2–0, remaining top with Aston Villa as their primary challengers. February included a 3–0 FA Cup win over Southampton and a 2–1 Merseyside derby victory. Despite a goalless draw at Norwich, they maintained their lead in the league. March saw progress in the FA Cup, with a 1–0 quarter-final replay win over QPR. They achieved league victories over Millwall, Manchester United, and Southampton but lost to Tottenham. Israeli striker Ronny Rosenthal joined on loan from Standard Liège on 22 March.

18th League Title

April was pivotal, with Liverpool clinching the league title on 28 April after a 2–1 win over QPR, but their double hopes were dashed with a 4–3 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace. They ended the season with wins against Derby and Coventry, solidifying their status as champions. Liverpool’s title was their 18th, a record at the time. Ronny Rosenthal’s loan became permanent for £1 million, following his impressive seven goals in eight league games, including a hat-trick in a 4–0 win over Charlton Athletic.

The 18th League Title Squad

Liverpool’s 18th league title squad was a formidable and diverse group, blending seasoned veterans with emerging talents across all positions.

Goalkeepers in the 18th League Title
  • Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe) – Known for his acrobatic saves and eccentric style.
  • Mike Hooper (England) – The reliable backup, providing solid cover.
Defenders in the 18th League Title
  • Gary Ablett (England) – A versatile defender capable of playing both centrally and on the left.
  • David Burrows (England) – A tough-tackling left-back.
  • Gary Gillespie (Scotland) – A commanding central defender with an eye for goal.
  • Alan Hansen (Scotland) – The elegant and composed defensive lynchpin.
  • Glenn Hysén (Sweden) – The experienced Swedish international who bolstered the defense.
  • Steve Nicol (Scotland) – A versatile player, effective across the backline and midfield.
  • Steve Staunton (Republic of Ireland) – A reliable left-back with a powerful shot.
  • Nick Tanner (England) – A utility defender who provided depth.
  • Barry Venison (England) – Known for his long throws and defensive solidity.
  • Alex Watson (England) – Another dependable option at the back.
Mid-fielders in the 18th League Title
  • John Barnes (England) – The talismanic winger, renowned for his dribbling and creativity.
  • Ray Houghton (Republic of Ireland) – A hard-working and skillful midfielder.
  • Steve McMahon (England) – The engine room, known for his tenacity and leadership.
  • Jim Magilton (Northern Ireland) – A promising young midfielder.
  • Mike Marsh (England) – A versatile and industrious player.
  • Jan Mølby (Denmark) – The Danish playmaker with exceptional vision and passing ability.
  • Nigel Spackman (England) – A dependable midfield workhorse.
  • Ronnie Whelan (Republic of Ireland) – The experienced and versatile midfielder.
Attackers in the 18th League Title
  • John Aldridge (Republic of Ireland) – The prolific striker, who left for Real Sociedad mid-season.
  • Peter Beardsley (England) – The skillful forward with an excellent football brain.
  • Ronny Rosenthal (Israel) – The impactful late-season addition, known for his pace and finishing.
  • Ian Rush (Wales) – The legendary goal-scorer who returned from Italy to reclaim his place.
  • Kenny Dalglish (Scotland) – The player-manager, an iconic figure in Liverpool’s history.

This squad’s blend of experience, talent, and leadership was key to securing Liverpool’s 18th league title in a memorable season.


The 1989–90 season marked Liverpool’s 18th league title, a testament to the team’s blend of seasoned veterans and emerging talent. Despite a long wait and facing strong challenges from Aston Villa and Arsenal, Liverpool maintained their dominance, finishing nine points clear at the top. The season was also notable for the departure of John Aldridge and the arrival of Ronny Rosenthal, whose impact was immediate. Liverpool’s journey was highlighted by significant victories and a dramatic FA Cup semi-final loss to Crystal Palace. This season would stand as their last league triumph for 30 years, making it a pivotal chapter in the club’s illustrious history.

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By Solomon Githinji

Solomon Githinji is a dedicated writer for Liverpool FC Times, bringing the rich history and dynamic present of Liverpool FC to life. A lifelong fan, Solomon's insightful articles capture the triumphs, challenges, and spirit of the Reds, connecting with and inspiring a global community of passionate supporters.

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