And, just like that, the title race goes to the final day. While it’s been 24-years since Liverpool last ended the season on top of the pile, Manchester City celebrated their first Premier League title only two seasons ago with a last gasp victory in the dying moments of the campaign; despite millions upon millions of pounds being invested into that side, some things haven’t changed.
It’s hard to even discuss Newcastle United right now. Although it’s absolutely imperative that we take all three points from Alan Pardew’s side on Sunday, it feels like something close to an after-thought to run through the mechanics of a match preview. At this late juncture, this is a win or it’s all gone scenario — does it really matter who Brendan Rodgers puts out on the field?
You may think so; maybe including Daniel Agger over Mamadou Sakho will be the decision that tips the scales. The Dane could be destined to score a screamer in front of the Kop that seals the three points — maybe, he mistimes a tackle on Magpie’s striker Loic Remy and is sent off and we close the season with a whimper. You may think it matters who runs out for the Reds on Sunday, but this is going to play out how it plays out regardless; at this point, we have no control.
We’re left to the whims of destiny.
Win, lose or draw it’s been a crazy season. It feels almost embarrassing to be upset that we could miss out on a title no one ever thought we could win. Despite a positive front, I thought we’d finish just shy fourth and be playing in the Europa League next season — not securing no less than third with a handful of matches left to play and pushing champions elect Manchester City to the very last day of the campaign. If you think back to August, this ending comes up just short of defying logic, but with a chance to end 24-years of hurt well within grasp, it’s going to hurt if we come up short.
The mechanics of a match preview don’t really apply to a situation like this — at least not to me. This is Istanbul quality absurdity. I hate to harken back to the miracle of 2005, but we shouldn’t have been there either. Three goals down to AC Milan at halftime? Back then I wondered what was a team with Milan Baros up top and Djimi Traore at the back doing on the biggest stage in Europe? Today, I’m wondering what a team that finished seventh last year is doing challenging for the title; it’s been a strange ride.
Sunday is about fate and faith; if we come up short, we know we’re coming back for it in a big, big way, and if we inexplicably claim our first Premier League title in 24-years, then it will be possibly the greatest, craziest one we’ve ever claimed. Regardless, we’ve been, and will continue to a be, a force to be reckoned one — one that we were all afraid we’d never see again.
Well, guess what? We’re back.