Living in the Past and Looking to the Future: Can Liverpool Win the EPL?
It's that time of year again. In just a few short days, another Premier League season gets under way with 20 optimistic clubs all battling for the best possible and realistic finish.
For some, 17th place will be a good season, while others may be aiming for mid-table mediocrity.
But for four, maybe even five lucky clubs, the Premier League title is the main aim.
Everyone will be watching to see whether Manchester City, for all their money and resources, can launch a serious bid for the top four, while their local rivals United will be under the scrutinous eye of the public to see if they can make it four titles in a row.
Down in London, the focus will be on Arsenal and the potential success or failure Arsene Wenger's transfer activity, or rather lack of it, and how Chelsea will cope with yet another new manager at the helm.
One club, however, is in the spotlight more than any other this year: Liverpool.
Last season saw them claim second place with the highest points tally they have ever amassed in the Premier League, and the annual cries of "this is our year!" seem more realistic now than ever before.
A common criticism of Liverpool fans is that they live in the past, pining for a return to the golden era of the 1970s and '80s.
Now we are looking to the future, and realistically anticipating an end to the 20 year wait for another league title, as well as the endless banter from rival fans that comes with it.
It's funny how success seems to be married to a short term memory, just as failure is twinned with recounting past glories.
Before the Premier League era, Manchester United had gone 24 years without a league title. This should give Liverpool fans hope that there is significant light at the end of the tunnel.
But can they reach the end this season?
The pre-season title talk seems to be more about the weakening of top teams rather than the strengthening of them.
Manchester United have lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, Chelsea have failed to greatly enhance the squad that only managed third last season, Arsenal have lost their first choice striker and stalwart defender, and Liverpool themselves will be without midfield play-maker Xabi Alonso and right-back Alvaro Arbeloa.
It seems to be a question of who will feel the loss of key players most.
Sir Alex Ferguson will have a job to replace the goals Cristiano Ronaldo created and scored, if no more strikers come in then Arsene Wenger will be stuck with a group of injury-prone front-men and, well, Nicklas Bendtner, and Rafa Benitez will need Alberto Aquillani to stay fit and fill the void left by Alonso.
If the latter occurs, and Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres stay fit for the majority of the season, then Liverpool will be very well placed come May.
As always, there are hundreds of ifs and buts involved. However, this year, for the first time in a long time, the Liverpool fans, players, and staff all believe they can win the title.
Let's just hope they're right. I've had enough of living in the past and looking to the future; I want some success in the present!
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