5 Matches That Made Liverpool's 2013/14 Season
There have been so many magnificent moments, euphoric highs and memorable scenes during the narrative of Liverpool's 2013-14 season that condensing them into five key matches is a contentious task.
To shape a season fairly around five games is to look at the peaks and lows, where Liverpool excelled and where heads dropped.
For that reason, the five games aren't necessarily thrillers, though the story of Liverpool's success is such that inevitably some are.
Furthermore, they are not all victories. Liverpool learnt some tough lessons along the way, but they still remain top of the Premier League with less than two weeks to go.
For the purposes of the article, and the space-time continuum, the five matches stop at Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
It could still be that an extended version of this, written at the end of the campaign, sees the inclusion of Manchester City's game at Everton this Sunday as a key match of Liverpool's season, followed by a league-winning victory for the Reds over Newcastle on May 11.
We can but dream.
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United
September 1, 2013, Anfield
Arguably the biggest match in English football will still be just that for years to come, whatever direction Manchester United go in after their roller-coaster season of transition.
It is therefore only right that we include Liverpool's 1-0 victory over their archrivals at Anfield back in September as a marker for the rest of the season for both clubs.
Daniel Sturridge got the only goal of the game early on as Brendan Rodgers' side held their nerve to win their third game of the season and top the league table.
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
December 26, 2013, Etihad Stadium
Liverpool were riding a wave of positivity in December, with big-hitting wins over Norwich City, West Ham, Tottenham and Cardiff.
Luis Suarez was touted as the greatest player in world football by BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher in FourFourTwo, amongst others, and Liverpool were playing irresistibly to top the Premier League on Christmas Day.
However, they were soon brought down to earth with a bump, losing 2-1 at Manchester City on Boxing Day. That was quickly followed by a defeat of the same scoreline at Chelsea, and Liverpool started 2014 down in fifth place.
Fulham 2-3 Liverpool
February 12, 2014, Craven Cottage
A very impressive start to the year for Liverpool stumbled in a 1-1 draw away at West Bromwich Albion in February, but the magic was about to start.
Having beaten top-four rivals Arsenal just days earlier, Liverpool fell behind twice at relegation strugglers Fulham on a cold Wednesday night in West London. The Reds looked to have blown any faint chance they had of getting back in the title race.
That is, until Sturridge won Liverpool a penalty in the last minute under the clumsy challenge of Sascha Riether.
Steven Gerrard stepped up, held his nerve and sent the away end at Craven Cottage into delirium, putting the visitors 3-2 up.
This was the type of victory that made title winners.
Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City
April 13, 2014, Anfield
The showdown with Manchester City was the game in which dreaming became believing. Liverpool beat the Premier League favourites to take matters into their own hands.
A marvellously courageous performance saw a late Philippe Coutinho goal win it after the Reds had earlier blown their first-half 2-0 lead.
The scenes at Anfield were incredible—a sea of red partying with the most united of beliefs: Liverpool were going to win the league for the first time in 24 years.
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea
April 27, 2014, Anfield
A narrative of Liverpool's season so far would not be complete without the sobering and deflating result witnessed on Sunday as defeat at the hands of fellow title-chasing Chelsea put the league all but out of Liverpool's hands.
The story's not over yet.