George Way 98
Liverpool Back on their Perch....for now at least
01 Apr, 2014 8:57 PM GMT
"I swear you will never see anything like this again,” exclaims Martin Tyler, “so watch it, drink it in!” The Sky Sports commentator had just witnessed arguably the greatest football moment since the start of the Premier League era. Manchester City had stolen the title from their rivals, having not won a league title for over 40 years. Despite Liverpool fans having waited for only half that length of time, the thirst for glory is clearly the same. And with Liverpool perched at the top of the table, it would seem the players are as eager as anybody to see the title come to Anfield.
However, if they are going to claim their 19th league title, it is surely going to be a close run thing. Much like the 2011-12 season when City won the league, the season was as tight at the top as it has ever been, which set up the grandstand finish we all saw. I think that this will again be the case; the three lead runners, including Liverpool, will all slip up, and I cannot see past a dramatic final day to this season.
Anyway, that is the future – all Liverpool fans, including myself are very much enjoying the present. The league table is a pretty picture on the red side of Merseyside, with Liverpool in top spot (excluding Manchester City’s games in hand), and it serves to prove that you do not need to spend big to reach the top four in the league. Liverpool’s biggest signing of the year has been Mamodou Sakho, who cost a relatively cheap £18 million. In contrast, their main rivals at the moment, Manchester City spent upwards of £100 million; the fact Liverpool have performed consistently on such a small budget makes the current situation all the sweeter for anybody affiliated with the club.
What has further added to the enjoyment this season is the way the Reds have performed; winning every league game since a draw against West Brom, Liverpool have averaged 3.75 goals a game, which is a remarkable feat. Not only have the goals been flying in, but the Anfield faithful have been treated to classy displays on a regular basis, with Liverpool playing football that leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Not only is this down to the quality of the players, but a man who seems to have sparked a revolution on Merseyside.
Brendan Rodgers’ influence on the Reds’ title push this year cannot be underestimated; I think that he is the key to Liverpool currently being in the driver’s seat in terms of a title challenge this season. His tactical prowess has seen off Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, AVB, and many more this year, as Liverpool crushed their opponents on each of these occasions. In addition, Rodgers has seen players who previously were completely under par growing into some of the best in the league. For instance, Jon Flanagan has grown from a struggling reserve into a first choice full back - the Englishman has even been mentioned in the same breathe as the words ‘plane’ and ‘Brazil’.
Speaking of players on the plane to Brazil, Liverpool fans are also fortunate enough to see their club harbouring some of the best English players in the Premier League at this moment in time. Steven Gerrard would be the obvious mention, but I think that Jordan Henderson is somebody who is loved by the majority of Liverpool supporters. The central midfielder plays every game as if it’s his last, and for this reason has earned the respect of Liverpool, but also the recognition of the nation.
This entire season has been about recognition; and Liverpool now has to be recognised as a serious contender in the title race. Rival fans may criticize the Liverpool squad, but at the end of the day Brendan Rodgers’ men are where everybody wants to be.