April 15, 2014

The title is Liverpool’s to lose

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It might be time to start planning the parade route leading to Anfield. With a thrilling 3-2 victory over title rival Manchester City, Liverpool now sits atop the Premier League table with a two-point lead over Chelsea and a seven-point lead over City –which has two games in hand.

All the Reds have to do is win out, or get at least a draw with Chelsea and win their other games and the title will be theirs.

It will be Liverpool’s first title in 24 years and first in the Premier League era. Their SAS attack will join the original duo – Blackburn’s Shearer and Sutton – as champions.

This is a side that believes in itself, is playing with confidence and is getting the type of lucky bounces that champions often do.

That is what their game with City really came down to. If not for Vincent Kompany’s awful clearance right to Philippe Coutinho – who finished a brilliant half-volley – this game could have ended 2-2, or even 3-2 in City’s favour, as it was the stronger side in the second half.

Kompany had a hand in all three Liverpool goals really. Supposedly one of the best defenders in the EPL, maybe even the world, he was clearly out of form and bother by a training injury.

Speaking of player form, it should be noted that Luis Suarez seems to lack it against the EPL’s top teams.

Whether it be the better defenders or not being able to get up for the big games, Suarez has just two goals against the top five teams in the league and both came against Everton. So, if you’re counting at home, that’s zero goals against City, Arsenal and Chelsea and 29 goals against the rest of the league. Not exactly a big-game hunter.

The win was a fitting tribute to the 96 Reds fans that lost their lives in the Hillsborough tragedy 25 years ago. I’m sure that seeing those empty seats reserved for the deceased was all Liverpool needed to see to go out and play hard for that win.

AROUND THE EPL

It seems appropriately Chelsea that it could only muster a single goal against a relegation side down to 10 men. The Blues do get the three points quite often, but it never really seems easy … I’ve seen at least one report that Chelsea is set to buy Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa this summer to bolster their sagging forward corps. That play out interestingly during their semifinal matchup … It has become clear that Demba Ba is the best striker that Chelsea has. He may not score the prettiest goals, but at least he is scoring, unlike Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres at the moment … Of course it took penalties against Wigan fro Arsenal to make the F.A. Cup final. The fact that the Gunner were trailing in the game didn’t even shock me. But this seems like an Arsenal team destined to finally win some silverware at the F.A. Cup final, but fail to claim its usual Champions League spot … It’s quite fun that the two teams in the final – Arsenal and Hull City – play each next week in league play. I can’t see either side giving away too much in the way of strategy. It also could benefit Hull to let the Gunners win. If Arsenal finishes fourth, Hull would secure Europa League spot no matter the result of the Cup final … Fulham’s win against Norwich makes the relegation battle even more interesting. The closer things are at the bottom, the more exciting the final few matches with relelgation battlers can be.

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