After 10 months of end-to-end action, of missed chances, dodgy decisions, penalty appeals, injuries, yellow cards, five goal thrillers and David Moyes, we get the match that for most people is the real title decider – it could be slightly premature, but I think we all know what it will mean if Liverpool beat Chelsea this weekend.
The Reds have been imperious in recent months, piling the pressure on those teams above them, relentless in their victories (11 wins in a row!), scoring goals for fun and making a mockery of early season predictions and ‘expert’ analysis. Add in a lot of luck too and it would be very hard to argue against Liverpool winning the league title this season. A few months ago this fixture was pencilled in as the title decider – and although Chelsea have slipped up recently, this match is still the only glimmer that both Chelsea and Man City have of claiming this season’s title for their own. Liverpool only need 7 points from their last 3 matches – they can afford to draw one of them – and with an away fixture against Crystal Palace and then a home match against struggling Newcastle, it would be a colossal collapse of epic proportion if they were to throw this opportunity away now. Palace fans would probably want their team to roll over and play dead against Liverpool rather than see Chelsea win the title.
Liverpool v Chelsea
It would have been a lot harder for Liverpool to win this if Chelsea were out of the Champions League and only had the league to focus on, and if they had keeper Petr Cech and central defender John Terry at the back, and if Ramires wasn’t suspended but the football Gods have been kind to LFC and Chelsea have even asked permission to field a ‘weakened’ team. They will still put out a team that will have a price tag more expensive than their opponents and some of the so-called ‘fringe’ players will see it as an opportunity to remind the manager of their worth and their abilities. It could back fire on Liverpool if they take it easy, expecting to walk over their ‘weak’ opposition, but I think Steven Gerrard will have them motivated and ready, only a few steps away from claiming his first ever league success and ending the clubs’ 24 year wait.
I expect Chelsea to be competitive in the early stages, I expect Liverpool to be nervous and perhaps start off slowly, but once they get going they will be too strong and although it might not be a classic match, I predict Liverpool winning this without too many problems and taking a huge step towards claiming the League title.
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George Dearnaley is a former Bafana player, supports AmaZulu & Manchester United and loves talking football. He’s currently guest blogging for Gumtree – follow him @zulushark
image credit: Liverpool Supporters Club