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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

End of Liverpool’s Title Hope in Premier League?

(This entry was originally published on Monday, March 2nd, 2009)

The momentum Liverpool had gained thanks to their excellent 1-0 victory away at Real Madrid in the midweek went away with their heart-breaking defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough in premier league on Saturday. The 2-0 defeat left the Reds in the third place of premier league table on goal difference as they failed to decrease the 7-point difference with leader Manchester United who can go 10 points clear of Liverpool with a victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday. So, it seems that Liverpool has already been out of premier league title race.

Well, you might argue with me stating the fact that English premier league history has seen many teams in the past bridging up a larger gap to clinch the title at the end of the season. Yes, I agree with you, but what I want to say that the way Manchester United has been playing since the turn of the new year, I am really doubtful if United would lose so many points in 12 matches- in what would open up a chance for the other clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool.

Manchester United has a very big squad with a number of quality options in each of the position. Thus, manager Sir Alex Ferguson can rest his players by rotating the squad. For example, Carlos Tevez was not in the first eleven against Inter Milan, and appeared fresh against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup final 2009 Dimitar Berbatov played against Inter, but was rested for the Tottenham Hotspur match. Moreover, the young players like Evans, Welbeck coming form their youth side are also showing excellent prospect. Even one or two injury problems may not create any big difference in their performance.

Liverpool, on other hand, is struggling with consistency. Just after clinching an excellent win over Real Madrid, Liverpool failed to hold on to that momentum. Gerrard and Torres are going ups and downs, as do Dirk Kuyt, Alonso and others too. To add pain to the injury, manager Rafael Benitez is also going through a disagreement with the club officials over his contract extension which has come as a distraction for Liverpool in their pursuit to win the premier league this season after 19 years. Liverpool does not have a very big squad too, they have limited options in each positions, and thus, making the task difficult for Benitez to give enough rest to the key players like Gerrard, Alonso, Torres etc.

Consistency has become a very big problem for Liverpool over the last few years when it comes to premier league, even though they have had a contrastive form in Europe, making the final twice in last four seasons. The same thing seems to be applied for this season too as Champions League remains the best stage for Liverpool to win silverware.

I would not say that Liverpool’s title run in premier league has already been closed up, but, as it seems, Liverpool would need to cause a miracle to win the title, requiring a series of poor performance by Manchester United, which would itself seem to be a miracle. Let us see if the ongoing premier league season unfolds so many miracles in the rest of the season.

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