EPL: Can Liverpool Win the 2011/12 Premiership Title?
When a season is separated into two clearly opposing halves you can't help but feel despondent at the "what if" thoughts that plague your mind.
Such has been the season for Liverpool this year where their impressive and revelatory second half of the season obliterated the dismal and self destructive appearance of the first.
With an arguable downturn in the quality of dominance at the top it is clear that a Liverpool side competing ably from the start would have challenged for more than their current sixth placed position in the table.
To make a comparison, their efforts have echoed the turn around witnessed at White Hart Lane when Harry Redknapp took over from a Spurs side languishing at the bottom of the table.
So looking to the 2011/12 season, could Liverpool actually be title contenders?
With Manchester United looking to eclipse their 18 league titles there is a definite hope that the Kop side will come back immediately fighting and to equal and subsequently cancel out the new benchmark of their fierce rivals.
Certainly on form the impetus and momentum is with Liverpool.
After an unfortunate exit at the hands of Manchester United in the FA Cup they bounced back with comprehensive victories in the league over Manchester City, Chelsea and a vengeful 3-0 defeat of the Red Devils.
Consequentially they are the highest scoring points scorers in the latter half of the season. The scene can therefore be set for Liverpool to dominate proceedings in the aftermath of their resurgence.
Even without Steven Gerrard the team are achieving, thanks to the new signings of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll coupled with the increase in performance from the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles.
Additionally, starting opportunities given to fresh new players like Jay Spearing and John Flanagan have signalled a positive period of change.
It is Kenny Dalglish that has sparked this resurgence of a team desperate to reclaim former glories. In his overhaul of an under-performing team he now sees the fruits of his labour with various members of the British parliament calling for a knighthood.
Pepe Reina also seems to have realised the mistake made by Fernando Torres to abandon ship by professing his unwillingness to ever join Manchester United, something seen as a remark of loyalty to Anfield. He is a goal keeper of World class quality who can be a fundamental part of a new era of Merseyside dominance.
What can be said about Liverpools rivals is that the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea will be more than willing to raise their game. They have both begun their own enhancement in performance, alongside Arsenal's overall consistency.
Will Liverpool win the 2011/12 Title?
Chelsea, who began strongly but faded catastrophically mid season, have regained some of the composure and ability to string together a confident run of results.
Manchester United have similarly dusted away the cobwebs of an indifferent season and are now portraying a successful team in unison. Despite their lacklustre defeat to Liverpool their extended lead at the top of the table highlights their ability to take control of the League.
It is clear with these patterns that Liverpool will not have easy access to a first Premiership title. Yes they may have defeated many of the stronger teams in a comprehensive fashion but you cant help but feel that their next encounters with each will not be met with the same lack of competition.
What it may boil down to is Liverpool's performances against teams lower down the rankings. This is something that has halted Liverpool's progress slightly in their impressive comeback. They must head into the next season firmly in top gear and take no prisoners against teams with calibres such as West Ham or Blackpool. They may have just started to subvert this unfortunate stereotype with their 5-0 demolition of Birmingham.
A possible season without European football may aid their efforts with no distractions there to divert their attention. Europa League will be at best their inclusion, yet you would expect that Kenny Dalglish and his team will set their sights firmly on challenging for the League title as their main motivation.
In conclusion it looks to be an exciting new season that will begin for Liverpool in August. They may have a few more games to go this season but a continuation of their recent form will only help to set them on the right track to succeed.
Consequently, a team who may have lost their way somewhat can certainly show the world of football what it has been missing without their historical capabilities. Twenty years is a long wait but one that could be coming rapidly to a welcome end.
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