It’s not easy to feel positive after the defeat home to Chelsea yesterday. It was not just a loss, it was probably the manner of defeat that hurt more. But alas, the defeat did shed some positive light that has been and should continue to surround the club during this campaign.
First off, the Reds are truly back in the limelight. How many times in recent seasons have big teams arrived at Anfield with the opponents needing a result to either stay in the race for the title or in contention for a top 4 place, with the Reds mere opponents they had to get past? This time, it was the Reds that were requiring any type of positive result, not in the pursuit for Champions League football mind you, but instead in pursuit of that elusive 19th title.
Secondly, Liverpool were the first team to achieve direct qualification for the Champions League this season, and that was with three games to spare. If you had offered Brendan Rodgers or any Liverpool fan at the start of the season, or even at the New Year, they would have taken it in a heartbeat. Even perennial Champions League qualifier (only to be knocked out in the last 16) Arsenal are not even guaranteed 4th yet. So what has been supposed to be a season of challenging for 4th, not even feeling a top four spot was guaranteed, has turned into a season where top European football has already been secured with the prize of the title still up for grabs (even after yesterday’s heartbreaking defeat).
Next, Rodgers’ brand of football has been breathtakingly amazing so far, even as the manager still needs to continue to grow and improve as a manager. His former mentor José Mourinho got the better of him yesterday, tactically, and on hindsight Rodgers might have been slightly smarter, and adjusted his tactics to a more conservative one, as the draw Mourinho was pursuing at the start of the game was actually beneficial to the Reds too. But first back to Liverpool’s football this season. It has been fast, aggressive and impressive for most of the season, and with new quality additions in the summer, Rodgers can only improve his side’s attacking flair and hopefully find solutions to Liverpool’s poor defence – porous by title challengers’ standards.
Lastly, the season isn’t over, and there is still some hope – even if it is slim. Liverpool are still ahead two points of Chelsea but only three ahead of Manchester City, and the Citizens have that game in hand with a much superior goal difference. Manuel Pellegrini’s side will travel to Goodison Park on Saturday evening, and though Everton’s sights for 4th has faded drastically, Roberto Martinez will want his side to get any type of positive result against the Citizens. Liverpool fans can and will only hope that their city rivals can do them a favour and hand the title initiative back with the Reds.
Even in the high possibility that the Rodgers’ men end up without a title, this has been a season of many highs and achievements. One can only hope Rodgers continues to improve himself, his players like he has continually done in his managerial career so far, brings some quality additions and fine-tune his attacking strategy, and get absolutely ready to fight on two main fronts next season.