Six years is a long time in football. These days, Liverpool are one of the best sides around, with English, European and even world championships to their name.
In 2014, they were a very different animal. After narrowly missing out on the Premier League title during the 2013/2014 campaign, the Reds eventually finished sixth with Brendan Rodgers’ side stuttering the following season.
We are not much better off than their European achievements. First they finished third in their Champions League group, before being knocked out of the Europa League by Beşiktaş at the first hurdle.
One of the real low points of this dreadful campaign was Rodgers’ strange decision to change the pack ahead of the trip to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid. For whatever reason, Rodgers opted for some interesting substitutes, leaving Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling on the bench.
Six years on from that dreadful night – which the Reds somehow only lost 1-0 – we take a look at what Liverpool’s starting XI has been up to now.
Mignolet scored just once against Real/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images
His appearance in Madrid comes a month after the Belgian was dropped by Rodgers after a string of mistakes.
However, after his replacement Brad Jones was injured, Mignolet soon returned to the Reds’ starting lineup.
The former Sunderland stopper was Liverpool’s number one during the 2016/2017 season and was eventually permanently displaced by Loris Karius this campaign.
After a spell on the sidelines – where he was occasionally dropped for a token EFL Cup game – he signed for Club Brugge in 2019.
Marcelo / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images A fresh face for the ball Mancillo challenges
Oh yeah! Javier Manquillo used to play for Liverpool!
Before he made his name as part of Steve Bruce’s Stoke Love block, the Spaniard ‘enjoyed’ a season-long loan spell at Anfield. Marcelo and Isco put him through their paces at the Bernabeu but the youngster was able to withstand Los Blancos’ barrage well.
After completing one campaign with the Reds, he had loan spells with Marseille and Sunderland before doing the unthinkable – joining the Black Cats’ bitter rivals Newcastle on a permanent deal in 2017.
Tour looks very angry here for some reason / JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images
Toure had played just one minute all season, before Liverpool’s trip to Madrid.
With that in mind, the Ivorian did well to concede just one goal, especially with both Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in contention.
Signing for Liverpool in 2013, Toure spent three years at Anfield before linking up with Rodgers at Celtic. The pair are clearly very close as they currently work together at Leicester. One of Toure’s many tasks is to prepare the Foxes’ defense before games.
“I really want to encourage the players, because before the game it’s a moment that I’ve been through and it’s a moment where I feel like I’m going to fight, and I’m really enjoying this time.” Leicester Mercury
Stable on col…
Martin Skrtel Now Has Hair – And It’s Really Weird / DeFodi Images/Getty Images
Martin Skrtel, 29, wore the captain’s armband for the Reds that night.
The Slovakian’s eight-year spell at Anfield – during which he made 320 appearances in all competitions – came to an end in 2016 when he had a predictable spell at Fenerbahce.
The defender spent three years there before agreeing to terms with Atlanta. Remarkably, he departed after just three weeks (probably) after being intimidated by Gian Piero Gasperini’s manic training methods.
After his ill-fated spell at Bergamo he returned to Turkey with Istanbul Başakşehir, helping them to their first Super League title last season.
*makes ball sign with hands* / Sean Bottrell/Getty Images
Often criticized for his defensive shortcomings during his time at the club, it was Mourinho who lined up at left-back for Liverpool that evening.
At this stage, the Spaniard was only 22, which made his occasional mistakes all the more forgivable. As his Reds career progressed, however, fans and managers were less understanding.
After being displaced in the team by Andy Robertson, Moreno joined Villarreal in 2019, eventually forcing his way into the team last season after an injury-hit start.
Lucas Leiva was eventually replaced by Steven Gerrard / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images
One of the few Reds stalwarts to avoid Rodgers’ cull this season, Lucas Leiva temporarily provides a much-needed, extra layer of protection to the back four.
The Brazilian was a popular figure during his ten years at Anfield and not just because of that ‘unluckeeeeeeee’ meme – although he admits it played an important role.
He finally bid farewell to Merseyside in 2017 for the bright lights of Rome. His solidity at the base of midfield has been crucial in Lazio’s recent revival.
You definitely look better with long hair.Joe/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images
From battling for midfield supremacy against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, to avoiding relegation to League One with Stoke City – Allen has had a stellar six years.
Rodgers’ favorite son played the full 90 minutes at the Bernabeu, one of 32 appearances for the Reds this season.
Allen continued one more campaign before moving to the Potteries.
This is a sheepish-looking young man / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images
Emery Kane is an interesting case. Perhaps if he hadn’t forced his way out of the club in 2018, he would still have a Premier League and Champions League winner’s medal.
Not that his career has been disastrous since leaving Anfield to be fair to Juventus.
While in Turin, the German won the Scudetto and would have picked up another had he not opted to move to Borussia Dortmund in 2019, first on loan and then permanently a few months later.
Possibly the peak of Markovic’s career / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images
Type Markovic into Google and one of the top results is: What happened to Lazar Markovic?
It’s a fair question, and you might be surprised to hear that the Serbian is actually under contract at Anfield until 2019. That’s impressive for a player who made just 34 appearances during six years at the club.
After a shocking opening campaign, Markovic had loan spells with Fenerbahce, Sporting CP, Hull City and Anderlecht before playing a single game for Fulham during their disastrous 2018/2019 season.
These days, he’s knocking around in his native Serbia for the Partisans.
What a smile / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images
Someone give this guy a club!
Yes, that’s right, Borini remains a free agent somehow. The same man who started at the Bernabeu six years ago is currently unemployed.
Borini would leave the Reds for Sunderland at the end of the 2014/2015 season, before moving to Milan where he played around 101 different positions over three years.
His most recent club was Hellas Verona, which he joined in January 2020. Surely someone out there needs a striker/wingback/midfielder/goalkeeper to celebrate a great goal with?
Harry Kane: My plans. Adam Lallana: 2020/Pool/Getty Images
Well before his body started to fail him Lellana was one of the most feared number 10s in the Premier League.
In the season before moving to the Bernabeu, the England international scored 18 straight goals for Southampton and was one of Liverpool’s most impressive performers as they started to tank.
Lallana called time on his Anfield career last summer, riding off into the sunset at Brighton with Premier League and Champions League winners’ medals in his pocket.