EPL NEWS: FIVE FINALS TO GLORY - WILL LIVERPOOL WIN THE TITLE?

  on April 08 2014 10:05 AM

It is the 25th of May 2005. The venue is the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. The game is AC Milan vs Liverpool. At stake is the honour of being crowned Champions of Europe.             

The players are headed to the tunnel at half time. For the Milan players there is a spring in their step, a gleam in their eye, they lead 3-0 on the night thanks to a Hernan Crespo double and a Paolo Maldini strike.             

For the Liverpool players the world has seemingly caved in; Out thought, out played and out muscled by their opponents they look like a team shorn of ideas, ready to capitulate as they walk back to the dressing room dejected, the mood somber, their heads hung low.     

Then one of, if not the greatest comeback in football history happens.           

A resurgent Liverpool comes roaring back. Led by their indefatigable captain Steven Gerrard the Reds take command of the second half.               

In what is now known as 'the six minutes of madness' goals by the Captain Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Vladmir Smicer tie the game in normal time.   

Liverpool ‘keeper Jerzey Dudek plays a huge part in keeping Liverpool in the tie with an astounding double save against Andriy Shevchenko with three minutes of extra time left to play.        

Liverpool won the ensuing penalty shootout 3-2 to lift the Champions League trophy for the 5th time guaranteeing them the honour of retaining the trophy for life.         

It was one of those defining moments that comes but once in a lifetime. A moment that demonstrates true character, fortitude, determination and resilience.             

Just like that night in Istanbul Liverpool Football Club is now on the precipice of greatness and needs to demonstrate such character attributes if it is to once more make a mark in history and dine at the table of Champions.               Liverpool are battling a final but this time round the odds are higher against them because it is not just one final but five finals starting with the game against Manchester City on the 13th of April 2014.            

Win all 5 remaining games against City, Norwich, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle and Liverpool will be crowned Champions of the Premier League once again for the 19th time. Anything short of that may not be enough.               

Mathematically Liverpool can drop points against the teams termed as their main rivals namely Manchester City and Chelsea and still conceivably win the title but they do not want to leave it to chance. Destiny is in their hands. Any slip up may be fatal.          

Liverpool have been a revelation this season. Decimating teams almost at will especially at Anfield they have, under Brendan Rodgers' superintendence, evolved into an exciting, results orientated team whose emphasis is on playing purist and scintillating football.

Crushing wins against Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs have chalked up Liverpool’s title credentials. The Reds are without doubt a challenger for the ultimate diadem.   The statistics lay credence to this assertion: Liverpool lead the league in goals scored with 90, they also enjoy the best pass completion in the league and in Suarez and Sturridge boast of the most lethal strikers in Europe with a combined 49 goals between them.       

Liverpool are also the only unbeaten club in 2014 and are on a red hot streak where they have gone 9 games unbeaten since the turn of the year.

The cavalry charge has been boosted by goals from the most unlikely of sources with Martin Skrtel netting an impressive 6 league goals and other defenders Flanagan, Agger and Mamadou Sakho also chipping in.       

It seems many light years since Liverpool last won the League Title. In fact the Anfield side have not won the title in the modern era. In this time they have been second best to their bitter rivals Manchester United, fast fading Arsenal, Chelsea and more recently have played second fiddle to the riches of Manchester City.         

This season things are different however. One senses that the wheel has come full circle for Liverpool. After groping in the darkness and going through several managers they have found in Rodgers a young manager with great acumen and a footballing brain who is poised to lead the club to greatness.

One looks at the playing unit that Rodgers has crafted and the thrilling football they play and comparisons are already been drawn between the current Liverpool manager to club legends Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley who at separate times in the club’s rich history led Liverpool to greatness. What is more amazing is that Rodgers has brought the team thus far on a limited, almost shoestring, budget.

It is still too early for Rodgers to be termed a legend in the ilk of Paisley and Shankly but the parallels are self evident.

A measure of how far Liverpool have come under Rodgers is their points tally. Liverpool lead the league with 74 points. At this same stage Liverpool were 7th with 50 points last season, 8th in the 2011/2012 season with 46 points and 6th in 2010/2011 season with 49 points. The improvement is clearly evident.      

The interesting thing about this whole scenario is that even if they do not clinch the ultimate prize this season Liverpool have played well enough and shown so much promise that the future can only be looked at with positive anticipation.         

Their long journey has been reminiscent of the words in their anthem: Liverpool have walked through the storm with their heads held high. At the end of the storm there is without doubt a golden sky.   It is now or never, the die must be cast, a whole generation awaits with bated breath. One can only wait to see whether Liverpool FC will hold its nerve.             

Five finals stand between Liverpool and the Premier League Title.

Five finals to glory.