Much has been said about the open nature of the Premier League title race. With 10 games to go, all the top four sides are in with a real shot of winning the title come May 11th. They are separated by only four points and with matches between the teams still left, it could go any way. So are Liverpool, currently in second place in the table, in with a realistic chance of topping the pile or is it more of a hopeful plunge into the deep end?
Going into the weekend, Liverpool were aware that a trip to the St Mary’s could be a potential banana skin which could easily derail any hopes to stay in the title hunt. They went there and put in the application required to come away with the crucial three points at the end of a grueling ninety minutes, irrespective of what the 3-0 score line suggests.
With Arsenal slipping up on their visit to Stoke, Liverpool now find themselves in second place on goal difference, four points behind leaders Chelsea. However, it is worthy to note that Manchester City, currently in fourth place, two points behind Liverpool, have two games in hand and should they win them, they would move to the top of the table.
That brings us to the very important trip to Old Trafford in a couple of weeks’ time. It will be a make or break game for Liverpool as they will have to ensure that they go to Old Trafford and get the result they need to stay alive in the race. United will have plenty of motivation of their own as they will look to close the gap on Tottenham in fifth place. With a derby day atmosphere around, irrational decisions are not impossible and Liverpool will have to be very wary.
If Liverpool manage to return from Manchester with all three points, they will have negotiated their most difficult away trip out of the five that they are due in the next two and half months. However, the most important games will be the ones against Chelsea and Manchester City who will both have to visit Anfield in April.
Visiting Anfield has once again become the longest 90 minutes of an opposing team’s season and Liverpool have been destroying teams for fun at home. They put four past local rivals Everton and hammered Arsenal 5-1, and those results will certainly give Liverpool confidence going into these two big games. However, it will not be an easy task and Liverpool will have their work cut out against two of the best sides in the league.
Wins in both of these games will put Liverpool in pole position for title, and with relatively easier games to come apart from the visit of Tottenham, Liverpool should have the firepower necessary to see themselves through. So far, it has been this firepower in the form of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge who have been seeing Liverpool through, but they will have to tighten up their defensive unit if they are to have any chance of winning the title.
With those two big games against City and Chelsea to be played at home, Liverpool definitely have the upper hand in the title race, but given the fact that they are trailing them by four points (potentially, if City win both their games in hand) means that Liverpool have no room for error.
So far, Liverpool have showed that they have enough to earn a seat at the table, but now they have to show the ruthlessness to put their name on the silverware. Just as the 5/1 odds suggest – Liverpool as Premier League Champions seems more “possible” than “probable” at the moment.