As one of the world's best leagues is half way through the season, fans across the globe are curiously poised to see the season out to the end. Who will win the league? Who will be relegated? Will Manchester united do a hat trick of league trophies? These are some of the questions that pop up to the fore.
Well, undoubtedly, one of the stories of this season has been the emergence of Liverpool. Even though Liverpool have made it to two Champions League Finals in the
recent past, their stint with the domestic trophies has been far from satisfactory.
While Manchester United and Arsenal have consolidated their positions and Chelsea has emerged as a force to reckon, The Reds of Anfield have seen their side reduced to the bottom of the so-called Big Four. This season, after a long wait of almost 18 years, the Anfield faithful are hoping that their team will bring home the prestigious domestic trophy to Merseyside.
Though the performance of Liverpool in the league has been far better from their form in the previous seasons, there is much more work to be done if Liverpool are to land their first League title since the 1989-90 season.
Here are a few of the reasons as to why it'll take much more from the Red army to be the Champions of England. This article is by no means trying to rule out Chelsea or Arsenal's chances of winning the title, but to keep focus on the argument at hand, we will only discuss Liverpool's chances compared to its closest title contender—Manchester United.
Five Reasons Liverpool won't win the league
1. Philosophy of the managers
The Manager is the backbone of the team. Though it is the players who perform to win a game, it is the manager who directs the plot which is executed on the pitch. Both the managers in question, Rafael Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson, are one of the best the league has had, more so in the case of the latter. Lets see how the mentality and temperament of the managers has had a result on the game of both teams.
Rafa Benitez—"Play Not to Lose"
Sir Alex Ferguson—"Play to Win"
This mentality is clearly visible from the numerous points dropped by Liverpool by drawing games. Though Manchester United lose more games than Liverpool, their Winning mentality has clearly been the reason for their dominance.
2. The Depth of the squad
Though both teams boast of world class players, as far as this season goes, Manchester United have clearly coped better with injuries to key players than Liverpool. Dirk Kuyt, though has performed better this season, Liverpool have clearly struggled in the absence of Torres or Gerrard. Manchester United have suffered quite a few injuries to their back-line, but have come out on top with every new combination of the Back four. Their recent run of clean sheets establishes this fact.
3. Consistency in Home Form
Liverpool have dropped as many as 12 points compared to Manchester United's two points at home so far this season. Though the away form of both team has been
inconsistent at times, United have clearly made their home form count.
4. Style of play
Liverpool generally play a more defensive albeit effective 4-5-1 lineup with a lone striker upfront. Manchester United have played a more attacking game having scored more and conceded fewer goals than Liverpool. The width of the game of both teams is also a testament of the style of play of both teams. While Liverpool's wide-men have fared well this season, they are way behind the attacking blitzkrieg that United posses on the flanks. As a result, Liverpool's game is more narrow when compared to United and have not been able to make this work to their advantage.
5. Nature of the league
The English league is generally considered to be more physical and fast-paced while compared to the other leagues. This provides some kind of an advantage to both the defence as well as the attack. The physical nature of the game means far more fouls and lesser scope for technicality in the game. At the same time, the fast paced nature of the game provides lot of scope for attack and counter-attacking play as well making it an end to end game. Keeping in mind the style of play of both teams, clearly United have come out Winners in this category as well.
With all due respect to Liverpool's style of play, I would not hesitate to comment that Liverpool, as a team, are better equipped for the Champions League than the Premier League. Apart from the Champions league, the FA cup and the Carling Cup serve as added distractions and expose Liverpool's lack of Strength and Depth in squad. Liverpool's inferior performances traditionally in the second half of the season are a proof for the same.
The atmosphere behind the scenes, the boardroom and the dressing room alike, seems to be a lot more desirable at Old Trafford than that at Anfield. Though result on the pitch is what really matters, distractions like these no doubt affect the performance of the players. Sir Alex Ferguson also seems to have won the battle in the Transfer Market, with Dimitar Berbatov likely to be a better buy than Robbie Keane.
In totality, though Liverpool have improved tremendously over the last season, a lot needs to be done both on and off the pitch if the Anfield faithful are to see their first league trophy in 18 years. Though fragments of this article maybe based on personal opinion, this article is largely based on facts. I would again like to stress on the point that I, by no means, am ruling out either Chelsea, Arsenal or for that matter Liverpool, having a shot at the title. This is just a prediction based on the current trend and the events that have transpired so far. Who's title is it anyway ? I'd say anybody's!!!