Over the course of the past few seasons, we've found ourselves watching the table as much as we've been watching Liverpool. That might be overcooking the drama just a bit, but it seems like there were just as many results involving others teams that carried some sort of emotional investment as those directly involving Liverpool. Dropped points and disappointment had unfortunately become the norm for Liverpool, and rooting for direct rivals was a tricky but necessary evil.
This season that's been undone, as Liverpool can now watch Everton scrape narrow victories and Manchester United grind out tough away wins without much concern. Implosion is always a possibility, I suppose, but "implosion" happened in the first half against Cardiff on Saturday. Then Liverpool won 6-3. Things aren't really making sense so much anymore.
That their last three wins have come in convincing fashion away from Anfield has only sweetened the pot, and they're now set to finish their busiest week of the run-in after an extended spell away from their home supporters, a prospect that's plenty encouraging for their manager:
"It was an outstanding result for us. Some elements of our game were very good today, against a newly-promoted team, which are always difficult to play against. We don't work to just outscore teams; we work on our balance. We just conceded poor goals.
"We're focusing on the immediate future. I've got to say I'm really looking forward to the Sunderland game. It feels like we haven't played at home for ages. We had three games away on the spin and it was our fourth away win [in the league this year]. Wednesday will be a great night for us. We've now got five games left at Anfield, with three away from home. Anfield is a special place to play football. So for us, it's about the immediate future. That's all we can focus on. The fans can believe and dream. And when you come to see your team play away from home and they score six goals, you've got every right to do that. They've been a big part of our success this year."
Had Sunderland not progressed in the FA Cup this fixture would have obviously come sooner, but it now comes at a time when Liverpool can look to extend their winning streak to seven matches and pull ever closer to clinching a Champions League spot. Another Anfield masterclass on Wednesday would do plenty to further the belief that Liverpool will not only challenge for a spot in Europe's top club competition, but for their 19th league title as well.
With 42 goals and only five dropped points all season, it's easy to see why Rodgers is so looking forward to getting back to Anfield, and no doubt this week will set the stage for an exciting (and probably terrifying) final month and a half.