Liverpool Football Club may have lost their chance to become the next group of Invincibles courtesy of Watford and saw their way out of the FA Cup with a loss to Chelsea, but the club got back to winning ways this past weekend after notching a 2-1 win over Bournemouth. That win put their magic number to 9 points. Thanks to - shudder - a great assist from Manchester United, though, that number was reduced by 3 as Manchester City dropped another match over the weekend.
Liverpool now sit in first place and are only in need of 6 points to clinch their first top flight title in over 30 years - their first in the Premier League era, in fact. It is as close to a coronation as this fan has truly allowed this season, despite Liverpool having basically run away with the league by the close of the winter window.
6 points out of a possible 27. Two wins. Does anyone here doubt that the Reds can reach that number?
So, the countdown to the title is well and truly alive. It is here. The end of it all is right around the corner.
This season’s not over - not by any stretch. Liverpool have a lot to play for and it remains to be seen if Jurgen Klopp will push his superstar charges like Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson Becker, and captain Jordan Henderson to go for things like the points record. Centurions is still a possibility. Liverpool also still have the little task of undoing a 1-nil deficit in the Champions League when they welcome Atletico Madrid to Anfield.
Being able to sew up the title before the close of March would allow for Liverpool to make some decisions about rotating personnel and likely help allow a squad that’s been on full tilt for the better part of two years get some much needed rest. I mean, remember that Mane, Salah, and Naby Keita played in the AFCON this past summer and Firmino and Becker featured for Brazil’s title winning run in the Copa America.
We’ll have a mid-season AFCON next year and the Euros this summer, which means that our best players are likely to not really get much of a break over the next few months. And given that this team is predicated on mentally locking in to try and win each and every match placed in front of them, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to consider that the squad might simply prioritize the Champions League and allow the kids a run in the league once we’ve clinched it.
No way to tell, but being so close to the prize now allows us to wonder and ask the question. It also allows us to dream, unabashedly, about how a future reality in which Liverpool Football Club will be Premier League Champions.
The initial framing of this post started with the countdown set at three matches/nine points. It’s much better now, of course, even if it doesn’t have that great feeling of being able to mimic a typical countdown from three.
But it also was pretty significant because, at this moment, I will only have 3 more ETBs left. The countdown to my time here is picking up speed and, honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. I have some thoughts I’ve started forming for that last post, but it’s not all complete.
Which is to say that all of this feels like it snuck up on me. Even though I knew, back when we were surprised by the notices of our impending termination a week from Christmas, it would be a short ride through the end of March, it’s still felt as though the time has absolutely waltzed past me. Now that I’m here, it feels absolutely surreal. So, I’m on the clock myself.
This Liverpool team have delivered me so much joy during this season, that I know it’s ludicrous to hope for more. But my last ask for this magical year is that they button down and close up the league before my last ETB. Just to indulge me in one last dance in the sun, celebrating my favorite team with my favorite lot.