Monday 9 December 2019

Ronnie Whelan: 14 wins in a row not beyond Liverpool

Carl Markham

Former Liverpool captain Ronnie Whelan believes the current crop of Reds are finishing the season stronger than their rivals and that gives them the best chance of winning the title.

Brendan Rodgers' team returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a 2-1 win at West Ham on Sunday which made it nine successive league victories.

Whelan, who won six championships with Liverpool - including their last one in 1990 - believes the way in which they are overwhelming opponents with their pace and pressing is a good sign as the campaign reaches its climax.

"You cannot fault anything they are doing, they are going out and winning game after game and doing it well," he told Press Association Sport.

"The energy they are showing at the end of the season always gives you a chance in the last five games.

"The energy seems to be more than Chelsea and Manchester City and the other teams.

"Nine games ago we wouldn't have said we would win nine games on the trot but now there are only five more to go.

"I know it will be a record, winning 14 in a row, but they are playing well enough to do it."

Liverpool lead the table by two points from Chelsea and third-placed Manchester City, four points adrift with two matches in hand, visit Anfield on Sunday.

"There is a mentality to winning the title and Chelsea have been through it and they will know if perhaps they draw a game there are still plenty of twists and turns to go," he added.

"City have to go to Everton and that is no foregone conclusion. It is in Liverpool's hands and we would never have guessed that with five games to go."

Whelan is one of a host of former players due to take part in the Celebration of the 96 charity match on April 21 in aid of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) and Liverpool FC Foundation.

The full line-up of the United Kingdom and Ireland side, managed by Kenny Dalglish, and their international opponents - all ex-Reds - has now been announced and with tickets sold for more than half of Anfield already organisers remain hopeful it will be a full house.

"There is so much excitement among the players. To get all these players back together should be a great occasion," said Whelan.

"It will get serious - Kenny always get serious. He'll be on the touchline shouting and I'll be thinking 'I'm 52 years of age, leave me alone!"

UK & Ireland Team: Kenny Dalglish (manager), Roy Evans (assistant manager), Alan Kennedy, David Burrows, Danny Murphy, David James, David Thompson, Gary McAllister, Ian Rush, Jamie Redknapp, Jason McAteer, John Aldridge, John Barnes, John Wark, Mark Wright, Michael Owen, Michael Thomas, Peter Beardsley, Ray Houghton, Rob Jones, Robbie Fowler, Ronnie Whelan, Steve McManaman.

Rest of the World Team: Gerard Houllier (manager), Phil Thompson (assistant manager), Bjorn Tore Kvarme, Didi Hamann, Jari Litmanen, Jan Molby, Luis Garcia, Marcus Babbel, Salif Diao, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Stig Inge Bjornebye, Veggard Heggem, Vladimir Smicer.

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