Maybe Next Year: Liverpool Made To Wait for Elusive Premier League Crown
For nine months and 86 minutes I was hopeful, if not expectant, that Liverpool's long wait for a Premier League crown would finally be over.
At certain times during the season, it seemed as if the perennial underachievers would finally do what many said they would never do again and win a league title.
In the 19 years since a Liverpool player last lifted the top division's trophy, the fans, players, and staff alike have suffered much disappointment. Sure there has been a couple of FA Cups, a League Cup, a UEFA Cup and even a Champions League along the way, but, as every year goes by, the one we want most is the one which keeps getting away.
The desire to see Steven Gerrard lift the trophy above his head grows stronger every year, and it finally looked as if our dreams had been answered when, at one point, we were sitting pretty seven points clear at the top.
Then Manchester United came back.
A fourteen point swing within the space of a month or so meant that Liverpool were now the team seven points behind, and United were looking unstoppable.
Then they slipped up.
Would they, for all the talk of their experience of being involved in a Premiership title race before, throw it away?
It almost seemed that way, until Federico Macheda got that late goal against Aston Villa. Make no mistake, that goal won Manchester United the title.
Deep down I definitely believed that, but I still harboured some hope on the surface. I thought that Man City would get a point in the Manchester derby, and that Tottenham would also hold United.
Then all my hopes rested on Arsenal getting a win against the Red Devils.
One by one, however, these lifelines were ruthlessly cut by Sir Alex Ferguson's machine. They came from behind to beat Tottenham, and went on to beat Manchester City.
It was then more out of hope than expectation that I watched the Manchester United vs. Wigan game last night.
Wigan took the lead, and the flame of faith valiantly flickered on. United, inevitably, equalised, and the flame was dimmed somewhat.
It wasn't until the 86th minute, however, that it was extinguished. For the first time this season, I had conceded the title to United. Michael Carrick's late strike seemed to mock Liverpool fans across the country.
All season, indeed for the last few seasons, Liverpool have been known for their never-say-die attitude, fighting to the last second, and often getting late goals.
Now, the two most important goals of United's league season, Carrick's and Macheda's, had come with barely any time left on the clock.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I realised that, for the first time in my life, I actually got the opportunity to taste it. Never had I had the first-hand experience of seeing Liverpool so close to claiming a league title.
The mere fact that, with just two games to go, we can still, mathematically, win the title, is something that should be celebrated, and something that will stand us in good stead for next year.
Although I fully expect the Premier League trophy to be loaned out to Old Trafford for a third consecutive season, it is still possible for them to blow it. They face Arsenal next, who will be looking to bounce back from their humiliation against Chelsea, and then face Hull on the final day, who could be a wounded Tiger fighting for survival.
The chances are slim, after all, United only need one point from those two games to secure the title.
Will Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher complete the set of trophies possible to win as an English club footballer? Unfortunately, we know that Sami Hyypia won't, the Liverpool legend will leave the club at the end of the season.
As for Gerrard and Carragher, while it may not happen this season, there is always next year.
After all, the 20th time's a charm.
To add something different to some of my articles, I will now be leaving a quiz question or quote at the end of each one that is, in some way, relevant to the topic of the article!
Quiz Question No. 1
Who is the only current Premier League footballer to have won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Premier League, FA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal?
The answer will be announced at the end of my next article.
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