The rise of Liverpool football club as a strong force this season has strangely co-incided with bitter rivals Manchester United’s disintegrated performances; reminiscent of how the once mighty Reds fell from their perch in the late 80s as Sir Alex drove the red devils on their quest to establish themselves as the most successful team in England. It was the very embodiment of the saying, ‘What goes around comes around’. Although fierce United followers would vehemently expostulate the idea of it still desperately clinging on to the slender hopes of Champions League qualification. However, if their abject surrender against Olympiakos is anything to go by then the probabilistic ratio of that happening is fast diminishing to zero.
Liverpool’s upsurge this season is not a surprise but the expected output of the good work that Brendan Rodgers has been doing at the club, slow and gradual but definite. The signings of out of favor Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho alongwith former Swansea rearguard Joe Allen almost resembled the ones made by Rafa Benitez when he took charge back in 2004; both were intent on reinstilling the soul of the club back in it by choosing to play attractive football.
Rodgers’ biggest challenge presented itself last summer in the form of a pertinacious Luis Suarez, convinced about the dodgy future of the club, wanting away amidst public courtship from Arsenal. The Reds’ boss remained unrelenting in his stance over the striker, firm in his refusal to let the Uruguay star leave Anfield. There were fears within the club hierarchy that Suarez’ antics might permeate inside the dressing room and damage the team’s fabric irreversibly. Rodgers’ today stands vindicated; with just over a quarter of the season left to go, Liverpool have been the most prolific side in the Premier League and the attacking quartet of Suarez-Sturridge-Sterling-Coutinho have evolved as one of the most potent forces around.
Notwithstanding the magnitude of the task assigned to David Moyes and the daunting prospect of having to replace the most successful football manager of all times, Brendan Rodgers took over from a club legend Kenny Dalglish with little reputation as a football manager when Liverpool were going through a steep crisis themselves. But what sets him apart from Moyes is his viewpoint towards the game, the blithe disregard towards ‘draws’ , the idea of not considering them as a credible outcome from a football match dominated his teamsheets and tactics.
There is no denying that the squad is pretty thin and the bench looks hardly arousing to a Liverpool supporter. But with Liverpool out of the Champions League equation, it would be criminal to rule out their chances of winning the league this season given their recent eight match unbeaten streak.
If Liverpool manage to win the title this season, their overall 19th top flight championship crown, that would set in motion another chase to reclaim what the Reds’ fans would say ‘rightfully theirs’. Liverpool, besides earning more through television revenue and gate receipts courtesy the cash rich UEFA Champions League, will become an attractive destination for top players looking to make their move to England.
Liverpool will go into Saturday’s game against Southampton clearly aware that a win will move them within a point of league leaders Chelsea. And if the Reds juggernaut continues to roll, good times may be ahead at the Merseyside club.