After a decade in football wilderness, weighed down by the legacy of unmatched domestic and European successes in the 1970s and ’80s, Liverpool Football Club – under new French coach Gérard Houllier and forward-looking chief executive, Rick Parry – face up to the huge challenge of building a new team and a successful modern club at Anfield fit for the twenty-first century.
But change is never easy and a rough ride lies ahead. Hard-headed and controversial, Houllier and his policies are proving contentious: changing the dressing-room culture which has been central to the club’s earlier successes and his policy of player rotation, to name just two. So how does this new coaching guru, with a strong personal attachment to both the city and the club, see the future of the game and Liverpool’s place in it? And do the fans of the club – its lifeblood – share Houllier’s vision of a borderless international football squad and a more pragmatic, less flamboyant approach to playing the modern game?
Into the Red charts the place of football in the city of Liverpool, along with some of the reasons for the club’s dramatic fall from grace. It also reports on the extraordinary ‘revival’ season for Liverpool FC in 2000–01 as the club battled, uniquely, in Europe and at home for honours across four different fronts, and on season 2001–02, a dramatic one for Houllier in particular. It includes comment from some of the key protagonists at Anfield as Liverpool FC begins to build, on and off the pitch, an exciting new footballing era for the club, dragging it into the new millennium and ultimately challenging the great football epochs of the team’s history under legends such as Shankly, Paisley and Fagan.