Every Premier League season has its defining moment, its game or goal or comeback or whatever the case may be that we all look back on and go, "Yes, that's when a championship was won."
Will Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Manchester City on Sunday—surely the game of the season, or at least one of them—be remembered as that moment?
We've a long way to go until we can say for sure, but Liverpool are now four wins away from a Premier League title.
Four wins away a year after they finished seventh on the table and 28 points behind champions Manchester United. Four wins away after Luis Suarez was nearly pried away by Arsenal this summer. Four wins away after 24 years without a league title.
Are you getting chills? I'm getting chills. Let's take a look at the current table and inspect the landscape of the Premier League after Sunday.
|Premier League Table|
|11||West Ham United||33||10||7||16||37||44||-7||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||6||15||12||40||51||-11||33|
Liverpool beat City, yes, but the Anfield supporters can take some credit too. They were superb on Sunday, roaring at all the right moments and whistling and chiding the Citizens when they were on the ball.
In the States, such a crowd is often designated as "the 12th man." On Sunday, Anfield felt like it was the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th men. Oliver Holt of the Mirror did a wonderful job of recapping the atmosphere the Liverpool supporters created on Sunday:
Something is happening here on Merseyside that has unleashed a fervour thrilling in its intensity.
It is the kind of fervour that is a beautiful, passionate, raw antidote to the prawn sandwich era that is threatening to emasculate the Premier League.
It is the kind of fervour that can unsettle those who are not used to it.
It is the kind of fervour that so bewildered Manchester City that they seemed incapable of thought in the first half of their 3-2 defeat.
It is the kind of fervour, I might add, that Liverpool will need when Chelsea come to town in two weeks.
The iconic moment from the match—other than Philippe Coutinho's brilliant slicing strike after Vincent Kompany's tragic failed clearance that ultimately was the game-winner—was certainly Gerrard showing so much emotion when it was all over. After, he spoke to Sky Sports 1 (via ESPN):
That win means so much. They got back into the game but I think we showed today that we want to go to the wire. We want to go all the way. That's the longest 90 minutes I've probably ever played in. It felt like the clock was going backwards in some parts of that game.
But that is such a big result for us. We've got four cup finals left. People said that was the biggest one (match) but I disagree - I think the biggest one now is Norwich.
Nothing is ours yet. The important thing now is not to get carried away with that result. We need to stay calm and prepare for Norwich. The scenes are great today and the fans are very happy, but we have a day off tomorrow and then we go for Norwich.
So Liverpool control their own destiny, though they still have to face Chelsea, they still have to play through the pressure and they may have to do so without both Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge. The former will be suspended for three games after earning a straight red late in the match. The latter had to leave the game, so his condition remains up in the air.
Meanwhile, assuming both teams win out until next week, a Chelsea win over the Reds would put them in first place, but—and this is a big but—it would also mean that City would win the league title if they won out from here on out. A draw between Chelsea and City would mean the same, so City's loss may not yet be as devastating as it seemed.
Here are the remaining teams each side has to face:
|Remaining Opponents for Premier League Title Contenders|
|Liverpool||at Norwich City, Chelsea, at Crystal Palace, Newcastle|
|Chelsea||Sunderland, at Liverpool, Norwich City, at Cardiff City|
|Manchester City||Sunderland, West Brom, at Crystal Palace, at Everton, Aston Villa, West Ham|
It's important to note, of course, that Chelsea is also in the semifinals of the Champions League and will face Atletico Madrid on April 22 and 30. At some point, Jose Mourinho may have to decide which title his team should pursue, domestic or European.
Meanwhile, the matchup between Manchester City and Everton could seriously impact which teams reach the Champions League next year. Everton is currently two points clear of Arsenal in that race, though they have the far tougher schedule, with United and City to face at home and Southampton on the road.
Arsenal's stiffest opponent is Newcastle at the Emirates. It should be a wild finish between those teams.
It should also be a wild finish for those teams immersed in the relegation battle. There is Sunderland and Cardiff City, currently the bottom two sides of the moment, and then there are four teams within four points of 18th-place Fulham.
Teams like Hull City and Crystal Palace probably pushed themselves clear of the relegation zone with recent wins, while Norwich City have lost three in a row and have taken just four points in their last seven matches, as they've dipped dangerously close to a trip back to the Championship.
There's still so much to play for, folks.
Remember those chills? Expect them to stick around right on into May.
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