Aventuras Américas | Part 56 | Liverpool #3: Scintillating Southam Inspires Liverpool

Experienced Football Manager Robinho Lazaró had overhauled an underperforming Liverpool side to become the first Colombian manager to win the Premier League. He also became what has to be the first manager ever to win Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana then Champions League and the Europa League.

At the ripe old age of 66, Lazaró knew time was against him. He was keen to amass as many trophies as possible in his bid to become one of the greatest managers of all time. And last year’s successes saw him rise to 13 on the Worldwide rankings, just 700 points behind the great José Mourinho in ninth. For now, he was keen to stick with Liverpool but would keep half an eye on any potential managerial movement in Italy and Spain given his contract was up at the end of the season.

The summer of 2050 saw two older squad members depart as underperforming left-back Lisandro Landriel went to Chelsea for £50 million and midfielder Dario Brunelli joined Inter for £48.5 million. That took Lazaró past £350 million in sales in just over a year at Liverpool!

The summer of 2050 saw a mass of wonderkids walk through the famous Anfield gates. The pick of them were striker José Baiao, who arrived in January from Standard Liege then went back there on loan, and midfielder/winger Miguel, who came in for £35 million from Alavés. They also drafted in a couple of promising Brazilians in centre-back Élton and goalkeeper Ale, from Lazaró’s former club Palmeiras.

The summer saw Brazil win the World Cup, eight years on from Lazaró’s 2042 success, led by the outrageous Juarez, who scored 10 in six games to win the tournament’s Golden Boot and Best Player.

Lazaró decided to take a more attacking approach this season. He opted for a 4-2-4 formation that he hoped would bag goals aplenty, but utilised slightly controversial double playmakers in midfield.

Silverware kicks off stunning season start

The 2050/51 campaign began with two immediate opportunities to win new silverware. Liverpool faced Brighton in the Charity Shield then Ajax in the European Super Cup.

Liverpool well and truly battered Brighton with 29 shots to 16. Brighton got a lucky goal from a corner before both midfielders Miguel and Ricky Robertson created goals for Patrick Southam and Juarez to seal a 2-1 success. A few days later, they were off to Finland to face the surprise European Champions. But Liverpool made light work of them as Juarez, a José Pereira brace and two Miguel assists sealed a 3-0 win.

They took that success into a strong Premier League start, opening up with a 3-1 win at West Ham thanks to a Juarez double then smashing Villa 7-1 with Southam bagging five and creating Juarez’s opener! That was part of a stunning opening to the season that also included a 4-1 thumping of Everton, in which they should have scored more as Juarez and his strike partner Tiago Sousa missed a hatful of chances, and a 4-2 win over Man City.

Two good results over Christmas saw Liverpool beat Spurs 2-0 then draw 1-1 at second-place Man City, taking them into the New Year top by six points. While Juarez and Southam came second and third to Man City’s Adam Peacock in the Ballon D’Or and FIFPro Player of the Year awards.

Liverpool began 2051 in scintillating form with consecutive club-record 8-0 wins over Burnley and Leicester, with Juarez bagging a hat-trick in the latter. They also won 4-0 at home to Brighton then thumped struggling Spurs 5-1 away led by a Southam hat-trick. That set the scene for an absolute demolition of the Premier League. But those results paled into insignificance compared to Liverpool celebrating Lazaró’s 1,300th match as a manager by putting 11 (ELEVEN) past lowly West Brom. Juarez bagged four, Sousa a hat-trick and Southam a brace, four assists and 17 key passes!

Despite a little late dip, Liverpool went on to breeze to the title by five points from Man UFC. They also smashed the goals record of 108 they set last season, scoring a ridiculous 119 goals. Juarez was Premier League top scorer with 31 goals in 30 games. But Southam was second-top scorer with 23 goals as well as a league-record 24 assists, 10 player of the match awards and an 8.09 average rating in 31 games. And Sousa was fourth-top scorer with 21.

As a result, Southam won English Footballer of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year and Sousa won English Players’ Young Player of the Year. And Lazaró was named Manager of the Year after winning his 21st league title.

Champions League progression

Having wrapped up the Europa League last season, Lazaró was keen to win a second Champions League with a second club. And to do that, he’d have to overcome the side he previously won it with and defeated in the Europa League Final! Yep, Liverpool were drawn with Wolfsburg, who dropped to third in Bundesliga last season, as well as Besiktas and PSV.

They opened up by beating PSV 3-2 then an easy 2-0 win in Turkey before welcoming Wolfsburg to town, ahead of which Juarez suspiciously got “injured.” Lazaró’s former side were clearly fired up as they came out flying, with Enrique Cafagna scoring two in the first 20 minutes either side of a Pereira strike. But Lazaró laid into his new players at half-time and a Sousa brace saw them come back to win 3-2. Pereira and Sousa struck again in Germany as Liverpool won 2-0 away to seize full control of the group. Shockingly, Wolfsburg finished bottom of the group on six points!

The knockout rounds started against Rennes, which was over after a 6-0 away demolition! That teed up a quarter-final clash with Man City, which Liverpool again seized control of with a 3-0 home win in the first leg. And they eased through with a 1-0 loss at the Etihad. Their reward was a semi-final with Inter and they again wrapped things up early as a Juarez hat-trick sealed a 5-0 home victory and won 4-1 away for a 9-1 aggregate success. So Liverpool were headed to the Final for the first time in nine years and just the second time in 29 years!

Champions League Final

Liverpool hadn’t won the Champions League throughout this entire save process, meaning they’ve not been Champions of Europe for 32 years since way back in 2019. Their opponent in the Final was Lazaró’s old foe Bayern, who’d lost the last two Finals against Man UFC and Real Madrid.

Lazaró’s main selection headache was captain Southam and midfielder Miguel picking up knocks ahead of the Final. Southam made it but Miguel didn’t, so he lined up:

Bernardes; Gauna, Ccahuana, Viera, Starke; Dutra, Robertson; Pereira, Southam; Juarez, Sousa
Subs: Baiao, Nana, Traoré, Azparren, Soria, Harvey, Carter, Pedrozo, Viera, Élton, Ale

A dire start to the game saw no highlights until Liverpool won a 36th-minute penalty. Southam stepped up to take, but saw his effort missed then somehow hit the post from the follow-up! Then Bayern went and scored from their first real effort and first shot on target in first-half injury-time.

Lazaró was furious and threw water bottles around the changing room while volleying an expletive-laden attack on his underperforming players. And it got the desired result as Juarez laid on Darwin Dutra to hit a delicious 25-yard equaliser with just his second goal of the season. From then on, it was all Liverpool. And they got their reward as that man Juarez again turned provider, running down the right and pulling the ball back for substitute Azparren to steer home a 90th-minute winner.

Liverpool were Champions of Europe!

Season Review

Lazaró enjoyed another brilliant season with Liverpool, adding the Champions League and Premier League to the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. The Colombian now has 18 domestic league titles and 15 cup successes, including two Champions Leagues and a Europa League in the last three seasons!

In terms of numbers, this was probably Lazaró’s best season yet. Juarez led the way with 43 goals and 14 assists in all competitions, which saw him collect the Best Player in Europe and European Golden Shoe awards. That was followed by Southam with 30 goals and 27 assists, Sousa with 27 goals and 15 assists and Pereira with 19 goals and 13 assists. Dutra got 12 assists, Robertson got 11 and Miguel got 10. But special mention has to go to Southam for a 7.98 average rating over 46 matches. Incredible!

Moving on from Liverpool?

Lazaró’s contract expired in the summer of 2051 and, despite having built a ridiculous squad at Liverpool and completely overhauled the club’s financial position, he felt it was time to look elsewhere in Europe. That would mean bidding farewell to the sublime Juarez – and the likes of Baiao and Sousa, who his coaches believed would become better than the Brazilian! But Lazaró felt he had to give himself a new challenge given he’d achieved everything with Liverpool.

What does the future hold for Robinho Lazaró? Will he move on to pastures new or will the lure of working with Juarez convince him to stay at Anfield? Join us next time to find out!

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