As fun as it is to spend our time hoping for others' failures, there's a point at which we'll have to actually get back to paying attention to Liverpool. It'll be nice when that time finally rolls around given how slow this week has been, and every match from this point on will be just like a cup final. Nearly every Liverpool cup final in the past ten years has been terrifying, so maybe these can be cup finals that don't make your heart explode.
This is what's coming.
The rest of March is as busy as it gets, with four fixtures before the month is out. As Chuck pointed out a few weeks ago, this should give us as clear an indication as any where Liverpool will finish. They pick back up at Old Trafford next Sunday, facing a Manchester United squad that got back to winning ways against West Brom yesterday. Historically this is a match in which Liverpool wouldn't be favored, but this season it's almost one that you would expect Brendan Rodgers' side to dominate.
Same goes for the next three--Cardiff away isn't quite as tricky as it was to start the season, Sunderland's brief rise in form seems to have leveled off, and Spurs have the quality but not necessarily the organization or momentum to cause serious problems at Anfield to close out the month. Most are already confident about Liverpool's chances to finish in the top four, and if the rest of March goes well, it'll be all but secured.
Which would be awfully nice considering the challenges posed by the April calendar; a home matchup with Manchester City follows a tricky visit to West Ham, who have been playing much better stuff in the new year, and Chelsea's trip to Anfield comes on the heels of an away day at Norwich. It's nice to have City and Chelsea at home, but points are anything but guaranteed, and the West Ham match is one that--between their form and recent struggles in the fixture--looks tricky. Hopefully Liverpool's fate will be settled (in a good way) either prior to this month or early on. For health reasons.
Only two matches in the season's two weeks, and if their league position isn't secured by this point, it's going to be absolutely unbearable. Especially given that they're facing a Tony Pulis side in one of them, even if Palace started to drop more points at home. As you'd expect from a Pulis squad, they've become difficult to break down and much more organized. Sort of the exact opposite of Alan Pardew's Newcastle through their February freefall, and while they've won each of their last two--including the 4-1 win over Hull last weekend that saw Pardew nuzzle up to David Meyler--the final day of the season should see Liverpool favorites.
Ten matches to go. One at a a time and all that, but it's hard not to get caught up in the dreaming. Hold me.