While Manchester City are arguably favourites for the crown, and Chelsea only marginally behind them, there is no denying that Liverpool are still very much challenging for the Premier League title this year, and with only seven games to go, club hero Steven Gerrard may finally, against all the odds, get his hands on the only piece of silverware to have eluded him throughout his long and illustrious career.
A veritable demi-god in the eyes of the Liverpool faithful, Gerrard has pretty much won the lot in the red, including both the Champions League and Europa League (then the UEFA Cup),the FA Cup, and the League Cup; but Premier League glory has been a distant dream during his 15 year stay at the club.
Other than the terrific 2008/09 season under Rafa Benitez, where they came second only to Manchester United, Liverpool have bubbled under the periphery, never really sustaining a concrete challenge, and falling short of previous glories as the second most successful team in the country.
But with last night’s 2-1 win over Sunderland at a swaying Anfield, Liverpool find themselves just a point behind leaders Chelsea, with just over 630 minutes of league football yet to play.
It was Gerrard’s sweetly struck free-kick that put the Reds a goal up in the first half, with the captain taking his personal tally to 11 goals in what is a fine scoring season, his best since that 08/09 near miss at the top of the table.
His age has seen him converted into much more of a defensive player by boss Brendan Rodgers this season, and it has paid dividends, with the now more deep-lying Gerrard able to exert his considerable experience and discipline alongside the much improved Jordan Henderson, and most recently, pass-master Joe Allen.
Somehow, Rodgers has it spot on this year, and with the devastating combination of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge unleashing merry hell on Premier League defences every game, it is hard to see them losing many matches up until the end of the season.
Liverpool have been a joy to watch this season, no matter where you’re allegiances lie, and there is an innate positivity ingrained in their play. No biting, bullying or boredom creeps into their playing style, and they are the darling of the neutral fan this term.
With Gerrard in the centre, effortlessly pulling the strings, they have the level-headed guide to see them over the finish line; and at 33, it may be the last time he’ll come this close to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
He’s just got to keep that lethal little leprechaun Suarez pointing in the right direction!
Can Gerrard and Liverpool win the Premier League?