The FA Cup clash in less than two weeks looks set to be a thriller. Liverpool recently went down to 10 men early in a game only to crush Everton 3-1 in the Merseyside Derby, and should have had more. Chelsea, similarly lost a man early on and went on to crush West Ham 4-1. Both teams are in good form, Liverpool arguably on paper looking in the better form - although Chelsea are surely soon to be crowned Champions for the second consecutive year.
With 4 games left of our Premiership season, I am amazed that we are actually still 'technically' in the title race. Okay Chelsea would need to lose all their remaining games but it is a measure of how far we have come that on April 11th the reds are still right up there. We have reached 70 points for only the second time in 10 years, and we have a very real chance of beating our all time Premiership high of 80 points (that was a year when we 'should' have won the league). This year, 80 points may look surprisingly short. In fact, if the reds had woken up to the Premiership campaign 5 games earlier then we could well be in with a proper title shout.
Liverpool took the first 8 games to reach 10 points.
If the league began from then the reds would now have a 6 point lead in the Premiership. That is how consistent we have been since the middle of October.
The games Liverpool have lost this season is remarkably few.
Chelsea - twice (failed to turn up in both games!)
Man Utd - once (away - a cruel blow from Rio in injury time)
Arsenal - once (away at Highbury when although outplayed we still only lost 2-1)
Charlton away and Fulham away (scratch your head time!)
Compare this to last season's defeats
Chelsea - twice
Man Utd - twice
Birmingham - twice!!
Bolton - away
Middlesbrough - away
Everton - away
Southampton - away
Newcastle - away
Man City - away
Crystal Palace - away
5 teams have beaten the reds this season compared with 10 last. 6 defeats compared with 13 last time. A big improvement.
Next season the anticipated arrival of Mark Gonzalez is mouth-watering. I have been watching the kid on the Spanish football on Sky and he looks genuinely different to anybody we have had at Anfield for a long time. I know its all about 'adapting' to the English game, but a free kick's the same anywhere, and if he can learn to ride the challenges of the big oafs in the Premiership then he will be a great acquisition. Aguero is constantly linked but until his recent declaration of 'wanting to join the reds' it is unsure how much Benitez was interested in him or tracking him. One things for sure - players don't come out with quotes about joining certain clubs if there is nothing going on behind the scenes.
All I hope for is that the Rafa gets some cash to spend before the World Cup and brings a couple of fresh faces in - probably a big name striker or two - the conclusion of Mark Gonazalez and maybe Aguero, Palleta and a hit on his old Valencia side. Defoe, I am sitting on the fence about.
A succesful world cup campaign, a couple of weeks off and then the beginning of the campaign and being competitive from day 0.
Oh, and a new contract for God.
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