If Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard can orchestrate a title-winning campaign for the Reds this season, then it will arguably be one of the best achievements that English football has seen.
The Anfield club haven’t won a top-flight campaign since the 1989/90 campaign, as the dominance of the English game changed hands to their bitter rivals Manchester United over the past few decades.
Per Anfield Online, Liverpool’s best Premier League finish over the last four seasons has been sixth place; and with the billions of pounds being injected into their title rivals, they were given little or no chance of hitting top spot come the middle of May.
Here they are, though, just four victories away from an historic title that would see each and every player written into club folklore. While Gerrard will have his place in the Hall of Fame no matter the outcome of the Premier League, he’s determined to get his hands on the trophy.
Per David Maddock of The Mirror, after the club’s vital 3-2 win over title rivals Manchester City on Sunday, Gerrard said his side must treat every remaining fixture as if it’s their last, starting against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday:
We have to focus and prepare for Norwich now—we have got to treat it like it is the last game of all our careers. That is the mentality. We have got to forget where we are and forget what we have done. Man City was always going to be huge because they are in the race with us but Norwich now become Man City. Norwich become Chelsea. Norwich become Manchester United. That’s how big it is.
We have got to treat Norwich like we treated AC Milan in 2005. That’s just how football is. We can’t think about what colour shirts Norwich are wearing and the personnel in them. We have got to treat them like the best team in the world.
The 33-year-old’s emotions were clear to see at the final whistle on Sunday after he saw his side edge closer to Premier League glory, as BBC Sporf revealed:
LEGEND: Steven Gerrard in tears at full-time. pic.twitter.com/Kc1rG3ZwiY— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) April 13, 2014
Every game now becomes a cup final for Liverpool, but with Norwich scrapping for their Premier League lives, Sunday’s trip to East Anglia won’t be as easy as first thought.
If the Reds do slip up, then both Manchester City and Chelsea will be ready to pounce to take top spot—something that Blues keeper Petr Cech is anticipating.
Cech has won three Premier League titles during his time in west London and questioned whether Liverpool will cope with the pressure of being the title favourites. Per Martin Lipton of The Mirror, he said:
Of course, in football you never know. Sometimes when you have a young team they don’t feel any pressure they just play. No one expected anything from Liverpool and they’re in contention – that’s why they’ve played without pressure so far. But let’s see how they’re going to cope when it comes to the last hurdle. They will have to jump it.
Yes, they have been doing remarkable well but we have things in our hands as well. We need to wait for one slip up from Manchester City but if we win our games we have a chance.
The 31-year-old stopper will face the daunting task of keeping the 49-goal strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge quiet when Chelsea travel to Anfield on April 27, in a game that’s been labelled as the title decider:
Liverpool v Chelsea, April 27, 2014. The new Premier League title decider.— 102 Great Goals (@102greatgoals) April 13, 2014
The match comes between Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final legs home and away to Atletico Madrid, giving Liverpool an immediate edge in proceedings in terms of both energy levels and collective mindset.
Who will win the Premier League title?
The Reds have won 10 league matches in a row to put themselves on course for the title, but crossing the line is indeed another matter. Gerrard’s call for his side to treat every game as if it’s their last will be ringing in the ears of the Liverpool players upon donning the famous red shirt, but the need for calm also remains.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have been irresistible this season by not putting too much pressure on themselves, and a similar philosophy must be adopted over the next month as title dreams become a reality.