Most pundits are running out of superlatives to describe this Liverpool side of late, as they continue their surge towards the Premier League summit. Brendan Rodgers has successfully galvanised a side that had for a long while now been subjected to the ignominy of European footballing exile.
Liverpool’s journey back from the footballing wilderness has been far from straight forward, and fans would be getting ahead of themselves to think that all the hard work is suddenly behind them. Sunday’s impressive 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford really has put the cat amongst the pigeons when it comes to the title race, and even though the Rodgers Revolution is but young you would be wrong to discount them at this stage. Liverpool lie just 4 points off Chelsea with a game in hand, with the West Londoners and City still facing difficult trips to Anfield in the coming weeks.
With Liverpool rank outsiders at the start of the season, would winning the Premier League this year represent the clubs greatest achievement?
Club Legend Jamie Carragher certainly thinks so, he had the following to say in his column in the Daily Mail:
“Liverpool, certainly, have the momentum with them and the biggest compliment you can give Brendan is that he has manoeuvred the club into a position to challenge for the title so quickly; Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, for instance, took four seasons to get there.”
“If Liverpool were to do it, the achievement would be on a par with Bill Shankly’s FA Cup triumph in 1965 or Bob Paisley’s European Cup success of 1977. Even though Liverpool have won 18 titles, this would feel like a first, such is the hunger and desire to get there.”
“Will they do it? They definitely have the right weapons. Liverpool look strong whereas you can question their rivals: will Chelsea pay for the lack of a top-class striker? Is Manchester City’s defence strong enough? Do Arsenal have the players to produce when it matters?”
This is coming from a man that was there to lift the Champions League back in 2005 and someone that is well in tune with the clubs history as a whole. To argue that this would be the greatest achievement of them all really puts the emphasis on first how well Rodgers has done to transform Liverpool’s fortunes and secondly how competitive the Premier League has become.
Comparisons with different eras of football are always difficult, but from my point of view success in Europe will always trump domestic success. But I don’t actually think Carragher here is alluding to the importance of the Premier League title per se, more so the fact its capture would have represented so much hard graft from a club that few backed to even challenge at the start of the campaign.
With the likes of Suarez and Sturridge firing, and a highly impressive midfield core built around Gerrard and Henderson I truly believe anything is possible for this Liverpool side. Anfield is fast becoming the most feared of footballing destinations, and if they can keep it this way you wouldn’t put a surprise first Premier League crown beyond them.
Liverpool may be a club grounded in history, but for me comparisons with the past are pretty unhelpful with the modern Premier League era. The likes of Shankly and Paisley will forever be remembered fondly amongst Liverpool fans, but now is a time for the club to look forward rather than to dwell on the past.
Rodgers is delivering a project that could catapult Liverpool back into the European elite once more, a significant achievement given the mediocrity of the last few years. Whether they win it or not this year, the Premier League title is fast becoming a realistic ambition for the Reds and if they can continue in the same vein of form you wouldn’t put it past them in the years ahead.