Garreth Murphy: 'Liverpool are top of the table but they've blown it'
IT’S not often you look at the league table, see your favourite team at the summit and still feel depressed.
But today is one of those days.
After yesterday’s defeat by Chelsea at Anfield, the Liverpool dream of winning their Premiership – their first title in almost a quarter of a century – is in tatters.
Yes, it’s still possible for the Reds to win the league but it’ll need more stars aligned than you’d find this side of a clairvoyants’ convention.
Only three games from the end of the season. So close to the end. If they had managed to come through the Chelsea test, then the trophy was virtually theirs. Now Manchester City know that if they win their remaining three matches – against Everton, Aston Villa and West Ham – and maintain their goal difference advantage over Liverpool, they will win the league.
City have been given a second chance at winning the title and it’s too late in the game for them not to take it..
The self-inflicted nature of the defeat and especially the mistake by Steven Gerrard – a man who has personified the resurgence of Liverpool this season – makes it even more difficult to stomach.
I’ve been supporting Liverpool since I’ve been a kid, but I was late coming to the party this time around. For weeks this season, I refused to believe. Even as the victories stacked up, the markers were set down and the points were being gathered. As a pipe dream merged to a distinct possibility and finally a reality, I still hung back.
Like a wounded singleton burned by too many bad date experiences, I refused to believe that, this time, they really had changed. That this time, they’d actually do what they had promised.
It was about six weeks ago when I decided to let go and just embrace it. To actually believe that they were going to do it. Damn the consequences. And look what happened there.
Liverpool have achieved great things this season. They’ve guaranteed themselves Champions League football next season with automatic entry into the group stages of the competition (where they’ll face some heavyweights but that’s a worry for another day).
But in a sense, it would have been almost better if they took the Arsenal route - falling into the final qualification spot without ever being in any realistic danger of actually winning the bloody thing.
I have an 11 year-old son who supports Man United. When the second Chelsea goal went in yesterday, I was expecting torrents of abuse from him. He sat there quietly, saying nothing. No whoops of jubilation, no cheers. Not even a smile.
Afterwards, I asked him why and he said: “You’ve been waiting 24 years. I couldn’t be that mean.”
Still, what do I know? At half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, I turned to a mate and said ‘I’d take 3-0 now as long as Milan stop making a show of us’.
They still might do it.
But if they let me down now, I’m filing for divorce.