One of our long-standing traditions here at TLO is crushing dreams. At least once a year, Noel will run an article that states in no uncertain terms how unlikely a run of wins culminating in a Champions League berth is for the Reds. Math is involved. Calculations. It is dreadful, but necessary stuff, protecting us all from our inner optimist, the one who sees and paints as plausible an unlikely path to glory, one that invariably proves too unkempt to tread.
This year, however, things are slightly different. The Reds are in third place, points already on the board, and it is Arsenal and the Manchester clubs who have to string together a run while Liverpool stumble in order to book a place in Europe's premier footballing competition, they who must hang their hopes on a sudden change in fortune, and their underpaid bloggers whose responsibility it becomes to adjust fan expectation.
Makeshift fullback and penalty savant James Milner relishes being in control of his own destiny.
“The position we are in means it is irrelevant what other teams think and do,” said the perfectly square-headed former Leeds man. “We know that if we do the business in our remaining games, it will be good enough I am sure. It is down to us.
“We don’t want to get side-tracked or have to worry about other results. Hopefully we can take care of business ourselves.
“One thing that can never be thrown at this squad is that we lack desire and a will to win and the attitude to come back again," he continued. "We have done it many times and that belief to keep going and get three points is there.”
While lack of desire and will to win are definitely accusations that have been pointed at the Reds this season — specifically when facing presumably weaker sides and/or defensive set-pieces — Milner is definitely right in his assertion that if they do the business, Liverpool will be rubbing elbows with the giants of Europe again next season. That particular business starts against bogey team West Bromwich and boogeyman Tony Pulis on Sunday. With a week to prepare, let's hope the Reds show the requisite desire.