Liverpool’s 0-1 victory last night, thanks to an Emre Can wonder-goal, projects Liverpool into pole position to gain Champions League football, in the battle against Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, although there may be a dark undertone in the story.
At the start of the weekend, Liverpool were one point above City, two points above United and six points ahead of Arsenal, with City and United having one game in hand and Arsenal two. This meant that if they all won their games in hand, chances are Liverpool would drop to 5th on goal difference.
Saturday’s fixture came and they completely changed the outlook of most Liverpool fans. Manchester United drew at home against relegation-threatened Swansea and Manchester City drew at the Riverside, with relegation-bound Middlesbrough. Then it all came together with Tottenham beating Arsenal 2-0 at home, meaning Liverpool remained in 3rd on goal difference.
If Liverpool had beaten Crystal Palace a week earlier, Liverpool fans would be confident that they were going to get Champions League football, however the loss threw a spanner in the works and a team that had won 5 out of 7 games beforehand, were in doubt they could dispatch a Watford side that they beat 6-1 only a few months ago.
While it’s great short-term to win the game,Liverpool must stop leaving their fate in others’ hands. The last time we did that was in the 2013/14 season, with Liverpool 5 points clear of the title with three games to go, all of a sudden on the last day they were dependent on Manchester City losing.
Liverpool’s Achilles heel this season has been seeing off weaker teams and this is why they’ll never have control over their own future, as inconsistencies lead to uncertainties, which leads to doubt and as a result a lack in morale and the opportunity to form to change negatively, which is what happened in January.
Liverpool’s next game is next Sunday, at home to Southampton, who have nothing to play for. If The Reds can win then fans can get excited about the prospect of Champions League football, a feat they may not have thought possible at the start of the season.