Clichés thrive in football, certainly those that make statements about what may happen in the future. One of the most popular tropes is that winning when playing badly is the hallmark of champions. In essence, it points to a mixture of luck, determination, desire and other immeasurable qualities of a team. But, the truth is, if you continue to play poorly, it will catch up with you eventually.
Liverpool, who have just recorded their fifth Premier League win of the season from five games, have not been playing poorly. But nor have they been the exhilarating force of last season. They have, in fact, looked a little average. The latest win, a close-fought 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, ensured Liverpool have had their best start to season since 1990/91 season when they won their first eight games. Older fans of the Reds will not need reminding that Arsenal pipped them to the title that year.
Premier League is top of Reds’ wish-list
During Liverpool’s 28 season league title drought, they have won the Champions League, UEFA Cup and a handful of FA Cups. The Champions League is, of course, top of every big club’s wish-list, but Liverpool fans have one wish above all others – a Premier League trophy. They have come close, during the 2014 season in particular, but this season might be their best chance to banish the ghosts of the last three decades.
It is not because Liverpool are playing mediocre football and winning, but because they are capable of playing so much better. The bookmakers agree, more than halving Liverpool’s odds since the start of the season. They now stand at about 9/4 with William Hill, a bookie covered by the latest Premier League free bet offers. Of course, Manchester City are still favourites, best-priced at 5/6 with Sky Bet.
Huge odds for Liverpool’s other rivals
But, it’s the odds of Liverpool’s other rivals that should really serve to demonstrate how far the Reds have come along this season: Tottenham, 33/1 (Bet Victor), Manchester United, 50/1 (Sky Bet), Arsenal, 80/1 (Bet Victor). Only Chelsea, 9/1 (various), are respected by the bookmakers. For the bookmakers to put Liverpool so close to a historically good Manchester City side is quite the compliment to Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Indeed, another intangible force may come to Liverpool’s aid if they are to embark upon an epic title battle with Manchester City – the desire from City’s owners to secure a Champions League title. Guardiola’s men are 4/1 favourites to secure their first ever Champions League title, but will it come at the expense of letting their Premier League crown slip?
No more excuses for Liverpool
In the end though, if Liverpool are going to break their duck, it will be more about them and less about other teams. There have been several false dawns over the last couple of decades, most of which have been peppered with excuses. This season, however, they have the squad, the manager and, seemingly, the good fortune on their side.
Liverpool fans should keep an eye on upcoming fixtures, especially against Chelsea and Manchester City in late September and early October. But the signs are looking good that Jurgen Klopp can lead his men, many of whom were not born when Liverpool last triumphed, to a first league title in 29 years.