Steven Gerrard can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord. And he's been waiting for this moment for all his life, oh Lord. As Liverpool's title chase continues, game by game, win by win, the captain's yearning for the ultimate prize in domestic football is becoming increasingly hard for him to hide in each goal or post-match celebration.
It's not just that he wants to win the league — this is a given, and much time and energy has been devoted to the tragic reality that it's the one gong missing from Gerrard's trophy case — it's that this is the closest he's ever been to achieving that goal. Liverpool have never been in first place this deep into the season during Gerrard's tenure, but he's holding off on popping that champagne cork.
"I am not convinced just yet," Gerrard said after the 2-1 over West Ham. "There are some very hard games to go and we've got a huge game next week. The message is to stay calm, we've got to give everything we can.
"Every time we go on the pitch we've got to leave every single ounce of energy and determination out there and that's what we're planning on doing."
It sounds like an average sports cliché, missing only a Brendan Rodgers-style 345% effort, but it's clear Gerrard and his teammates genuinely are trying to leave it all out on the pitch, save for one or two blips here and there. Of the many stories to be teased out of Liverpool's season, the need to win one for the skipper is not just the sentimental choice but also the one that might best sum up Gerrard's second half resurgence and the positive effect this is having on the entire team. Everyone wants this for him.
There are five games left and five wins needed to absolutely secure the title without requiring other results to go in Liverpool's favour. With Sunday's upcoming match against Manchester City being touted as a potential title decider by overly excitable pundits, Gerrard is taking a more even-tempered approach.
"All [a win] will give us is three more points," Gerrard said, "and that's what we plan to do, but there will be four huge games after that."
With top spot in the table having the potential to change hands after every single match day from now until the end of the season, Gerrard is not necessarily wrong to take a more holistic approach to Liverpool's last five games. The City match is important insofar as it takes points off the club's closest rival for the title, but the three points gained are ultimately worth the same as the three points earned against West Ham once everything is tallied up on May 11.
Five games to go. Can you feel it coming in the air tonight? I think you can.