How can the script change? According to critics & analysts, Liverpool were not even supposed to finish in top four this term, then how come they are sitting on top of the table – with just 6 games remaining! Brenden Rodgers, the manager himself is ruling out them from the title race. “The dream is for our supporters, they want to win the title but it is not in my thinking,” Rodgers told Sky Sports. But one man is continuously pushing the red half of Merseyside by selling a mere word “Dream”; it’s none other than Steven Gerrard.
Does history repeats? What about omens? Should we believe in both? Well, here comes a crazy coincidence, which will definitely give you goosebumps:
It was Spurs visiting the Anfield on 30th March; Liverpool won the game, and went on clinch the top spot in the League. Liverpool’s attack was headed by two strikers, both scoring +20 league goals. The same season Liverpool recorded a “double” against Manchester United and smashed 5 goals past Arsenal at the Anfield. The year was 1964, and Bill Shankly went on to win his first English league title as a manager. The lethal striking duo was Roger Hunt & Ian John. That season marked an end of a 17 years League trophy drought at the Anfield.
Exactly 50 years later, 30th March 2014 – it was Spurs visiting the Anfield, Liverpool crushed them 4-0, and went to clinch the top spot in the League. Liverpool’s attack now is headed by Suarez and Sturridge – surprisingly, it’s for the first time since 63/64, Liverpool has strike-duo that each has scored +20 league goals. Sheer coincidence? Here comes some more; this season, Liverpool side has completed a double over Manchester United and Arsenal has been smashed 5 goals at the Anfield. Considering all omens, now will Brenden Rodgers go on to win his first English title? Is this the year when Liverpool ends their 24 years League trophy drought?
Brenden Rodgers is playing down the hype; whereas, Steven Gerrard is roaring everywhere about the “dream”, about this year finally being KOP’s year. Anfield was jolting with passion in the recent games against Sunderland & Tottenham. This Liverpool side has successfully sold the title dream to their fans. Anfield is having a new visitor at home & it’s called expectation. The Anfield faithfuls are dreaming again, the Merseyside Reds are dreaming again, the players are dreaming again, the youth at Academy is dreaming again. With just six games to go, the equation to be League Champions is very clear: Brenden Rodgers’s army has to win all remaining fixtures. The Premier League trophy is waiting for Steven Gerrard. Liverpool fans or football neutrals are going crazy on social media with #MakeUsDream – because hope has been replaced by expectation at the Anfield.
Liverpool are living a dream, title challenge has never looked so much fun before. Luis Suarez & Sturridge are delivering ruthlessly. Steven Gerrard has never looked such ecstatic. Comparatively young shoulders of Henderson and Coutinho are replying firm. Academy players Sterling and Flanagan are repaying the faith of Brenden Rodgers & their adoring fans. Exactly a year back, Liverpool were placed 7th on the table, now with six games to go they are looking to be potential champions. Its rebirth of an empire, this side is ready as they have it all: a tactical manager (former Mourinho’s apprentice), a world class contingent, and hungry youth coming through the ranks, an erupting stadium and most importantly the most impassioned fans in the world, Kopties!
Steven Gerrard has already twice challenged for the League title, in 2001/02 & 2008/09 – both occasions saw Liverpool finished as runner-ups. Season 2001/2002; at week 32, Liverpool were 4 points behind Tony Adam’s led Arsenal. The end saw Liverpool finish 7 points behind Arsenal. The fate was never in Liverpool’s hands, they did won last 9 games of the remaining 10, but League title wasn’t destined for a 22 year old Steven Gerrard.
Season 2008/2009; at week 32, Liverpool were a point behind leaders Manchester United (Utd had one game in hand). That season ended Liverpool at 86 points, four behind the champions Man Utd. Agonizingly, that title victory saw the Manchester club equal Liverpool’s record of 18 League titles. The destiny was never in Liverpool’s hands; it was Manchester’s ball to drop, which Sir Alex ensured it didn’t happen.
This season, it’s different. There’s more positivism around the club. Everyone believes because for the first time in 24 years, it’s finally all in Liverpool’s own hands! Now 33, Steven Gerard is as excited as a kid, vocalizing everywhere that the dream is possible, the fans must believe. “We are in a title race”, quoted Gerard after trashing Spurs. The message is clear, win the remaining six; Liverpool wins their 19th League title. The Kop has waited so long to feel this again, this time they truly believe in it. “The Reds are coming up the hill” read the banner at the front of the Kop against Tottenham; indeed no one saw this coming, not even Brenden himself.
Of the remaining six fixtures, the toughest games loom at beloved Anfield. It’s Man City’s visit followed by London Blues coming around. I again proclaim: ball is in Liverpool’s court. If Liverpool fans are able to recreate that amazing atmosphere, none of both clubs would be taking anything away from their Merseyside trips. The Special One, Jose Mourinho knows that how Anfiled transforms itself, the fans are Liverpool’s “twelfth man”. “I felt the power of Anfield, it was magnificent”, quoted Mourinho after Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final defeat in 2005 – surprisingly that night Brenden Rodgers was sitting in the Chelsea dugout with the Special One. Mourinho will be returning to Anfield, but before that it’s Manchester City’s visit. Both clubs have beaten Liverpool 2-1 earlier in the campaign, but this time it’s different, the venue will be Anfield. Its Brendan’s duty to ensure team is tactically aware, it’s Gerrard’s duty to lead the team on field and most important of all is the duty of the KOP – to bring hell on earth! Something they have done numerous times in past. The city of Liverpool must be jolting once again in such a way that if Shankly, Paisley & the Boot Room boys are listening up from the sky, they must recognize “that’s the sound of boys coming up the hill.”
There is a growing expectation that Liverpool won’t relinquish the 1st spot as now they have captured it. If you didn’t believed in them earlier, you surely believe now. Potentially, it’s just six finals go to before that 24 years old League drought ends. There is a possibility that Liverpool might not be able to achieve it this season, but there is no doubt that hope has been replaced by expectation at the Anfield. Good times are back at Liverpool. Brenden Rodgers is young; and as history suggests it took four years for Bill Shankly to win his first League and six for Sir Alex Ferguson; Brenden has time on his side, and he knows his empire is ready, way sooner than it was ever expected. Anfield is a happy place again. This time around there is definitely something in the Anfield air, excitement, anxiety, expectation, may be destiny, and may be all of the above. Six to play, six to win and if they do, no one can deny them. As a KOP banner read previous Saturday: “Anything is possible for those who believe”, Gerrard’s and the KOP are believing. #MakeUsDream is now a reality and Liverpool are back on their perch!