Having dismantled another top side in the Premier League yesterday, Liverpool are now only six wins away from lifting the title for the first time in the league’s current era. Not only would this be the greatest achievement in the history of the league but it would also restore some much needed credibility to the English game.
The 4-0 victory, and the way in which they went about their task, against Tottenham further highlighted their credentials as champions elect. They had the look of a very well balanced side with no real weaknesses, scoring four goals appeared effortless and it could have easily been more yet they still didn’t look like conceding at the other end. And this was by no means a one-off perfect performance. This was the eleventh time in the league this season where The Reds have scored four or more goals in a game and some of those routs have come against their closest rivals. 4-0 and 5-0 against Spurs, 4-0 against Everton, 5-1 against Arsenal and of course (whilst it’s not a four goal victory) 3-0 away at Old Trafford. This impressive record is also reminiscent of another Championship winning team who destroyed all before them in a similar fashion en route to glory, Manchester City.
However, what makes this Liverpool side so different is that it hasn’t taken the deep pockets of a foreign owner to be put together, unlike the expensively assembled collection of superstars playing in the blue half of Manchester and the west end of London. Not only that but there are very few star individuals in the squad. Obviously Luis Suarez is the undisputed main man – after all he is considered to be the best player in the entire league. Other than that though, there aren’t really any world class players. Instead what they have is a really good team which is gelling beautifully and it’s an absolute joy to watch. Plus, with all the other ten cogs in the Liverpool machine working in tandem, it has allowed their one superstar to perform at a scarily high level.
Another huge plus point is that most of these aforementioned “cogs” are actually English. Believe it or not, it’s possible. With Liverpool at full-strength, their starting line-up usually contains an unprecedented (by top six Premier League team standards) six English (seven British) players – Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. I can’t be the only person hoping that a truly English team wins the English league title. Also, most of these English players really have come on leaps and bounds this season and their performances have not only increased their chances of making the World Cup squad but they have also given passionate followers of the England team more reason to be optimistic this summer. If there are six players in the squad who are arriving in Brazil on the back of winning a Premier League title, that can only be a good thing. For once there may be a real feel-good factor in the squad come the summer and not the feeling of a team with the expectations of the nation on their shoulders.
The Premier League in recent years has become like an arms race, with the rich and powerful clubs looking to outgun one another in recruiting the best talent from around the world. This worrying trend looks set to continue in the next few years as the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea look to seize the opportunity to fill the void left by Manchester United at the summit. As a result, future Premier League titles may not be decided on sporting merit but on who can own the majority of the properties on the football Monopoly board. Therefore, a title win for Liverpool this season would come as great timing in a period in which the Premier League has undoubtedly become a money game. Certainly, most of the neutrals are hoping for the ribbons on the trophy to be red – the red of Liverpool.