There are thirty four days to go in this years Premier League and I’ve got to admit, as a Liverpool fan, I am starting to crack under the pressure.
I started the season bathing in optimism and why not? After all we’d had a good year under Rodgers, bettering our previous year’s position by one place and playing some delightful football at times. Top four was a real possibility in the 13/14 season.
So what the BLOODY HELL is this? Five games left and we’re top. TOP! In what alternative universe have I found myself living in?! This wasn’t in the script!
Speak to any Liverpool fan at the start of the season and all of us would have bitten your hand (and probably every other limb) off for a Champions League place and yet we’re now within 450 mins (+ injury time) of clinching our first top flight title since 1990.
The quest for the holy grail is within our reach and my, how we’ve waited for this chance – we’ve had some nearly moments, granted (finishing 2nd in ’02 and ’09) but never have we been in as good a position and as good form as we our right now. Sunday’s ugly victory against West Ham was less about an efficient and workmanlike performance and more about Steven Gerrard’s one man effort to win his first Premier League title. HE WILL NOT BE DENIED.
I’ve got to admit, even now I still can’t quite believe we are where we are. Since Christmas I have been determined to play down our chances of winning the league – a tactic employed not just by myself and Brendan Rodgers but by Chelsea’s José Mourinho as well. No one wants to add pressure on themselves and it’s largely been Liverpool’s ability to slip under the radar for so long that has helped carry them to where they are now.
Rodger’s constant ability to tinker and outwit opponents has helped engineer emphatic wins against Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton bringing with it enormous confidence but let us not neglect the fact that Liverpool have lost against both Chelsea and Man City (teams which they face over the next three games) as well as losing to Arsenal earlier on in the season. Their record against their fellow league challengers is not great.
In American Football there is a saying that was epitomised in this year’s Super Bowl:
“Offence wins you games, Defence wins you Championships.”
And as the Seattle Seahawks showed with a flawless performance against Denver Broncos ‘all guns blazing’ offense sometimes outscoring the opponent isn’t enough. This is something Liverpool will have to address against both Man City and Chelsea, two teams that are not short of firepower themselves and both have much better defensive records than the Super Reds.
There is still so much to be positive about and yet, there is a small, quiet voice in the recesses of my mind that seems to whisper: “This is it. This is the one chance you get.”
And that is the overwhelming feeling I have. It is now or never for Liverpool.
We were expected to run out of steam, to lose form, to buckle under the weight of expectation. No one gave us a chance of being here this late on and we won’t be underestimated again. Liverpool have five games and five games only, to write themselves into legend as the boys that finally brought the title home.
The title race is far from over though and as we’ve seen with Man Utd’s demise this season anything is possible but Liverpool will be hoping and praying they can find a way to do what they have failed to do for the last twenty four years – cross the finish line as winners, not also-rans.
– Lewis Smith
Twitter: – @upturnedhands
Web: – upturnedhands.com
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