With four games to go, Liverpool lead the Premier League. Already favourites, with Manchester City stumbling against Sunderland last night, the club's best chance of winning its first title in 24 years just improved. Before, Liverpool had to take maximum points in their remaining games to guarantee the title; now, 10 of the 12 remaining points on offer does that.
Despite that, Liverpool fans caught up in the joy and stress and excitement of the club's most convincing title challenge in more than two decades may still be a touch nervy, even with the improving odds giving the slightest hint of wiggle room. Luis Suarez, though, wants to whisper soothing words in your ear. Luis Suarez wants you to stay calm.
"It's normal for the supporters to get excited and be discussing our chances," said Liverpool's 29-goal scorer. "When I'm out shopping or out with my family I bump into fans who mention it to me. I've told them to stay calm and not to worry. We'll be trying our best, [but] for the players it's probably best if we don't get involved in that kind of talk.
"Personally, I think that if I don't watch TV, listen to the radio, or read about us on the internet it's better. I know what the situation is. Winning the title would be very special but we can't think about that yet. There is no point in looking at other games or what might happen in a week or two weeks. For us it's always about the next game."
That next game is Norwich on Sunday, and despite the wiggle room provided by Manchester City's defeat, the message remains the same: nothing less than a win will do. Where the real value of last night's City draw arrives is the following week against Chelsea, when if Liverpool defeat Norwich they will face the second place side knowing they can draw and remain in control.
Tactically, that would give a massive edge to Brendan Rodgers' side. Not because Liverpool could then play for the draw—because it's impossible to imagine this Liverpool side playing for the draw—but because Chelsea knowing nothing less than a win will aid their own title challenge could draw Jose Mourinho's Blues out.
Mourinho is, at best, pragmatic. At worst he's one of the most regressive managers in England, sitting alongside Sam Alalrdyce and Tony Pulis in his willingness to embrace negative play and anti-football to achieve desired result. That willingness may be anything but admirable to the neutral, but combined with one of the highest paid squads in all of sport it makes for daunting opposition.
Now, if Liverpool can win their 11th game in a row by beating Norwich on Sunday, Mourinho may be forced away from the negative approach he often favours against strong opposition on the road. For that to happen, though—for Liverpool's newfound wiggle room in the title chase to much matter—all that matters in the here and now is this week. This Sunday. Norwich City.
As for staying calm, if Suarez can score a few more goals against the Canaries—his favourite opponent in England, he has 11 goals in four matches against them—that would probably help. In the meantime, at least try to remember to breathe.