2nd May 2010.
I wanted Liverpool to lose.
I’d never said that before. And I’ll probably never say it again.
But for those of you who don’t remember, Liverpool had to play Chelsea at home that day. Furthermore, we were in the position where if we had beat Chelsea we would have practically handed the title to Manchester United. Their 19th title. That meant we would have helped them to overtake us and become the most successful team in England. So although it felt strange and I wasn’t proud of the fact, I wanted my own team to lose.
This will sound crazy to most people, a Liverpool fan wanting Liverpool to lose, but unless you support Liverpool or United it’s impossible to comprehend the bad blood between the two clubs.
Over the next couple of weeks there is a similar situation. Chelsea play Manchester United and so do we. Now on the one hand, if Chelsea win it could hand the initiative to Arsenal and help stop United from winning the league; especially if we also take three points off them the following week. But after our resurgence over the last seven weeks, we now have a chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champion’s League; only a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.
What’s the worst outcome for Liverpool – Chelsea beat Man United and finish 4th, meaning we spend another season out of Europe’s premier competition; or United win and go on to claim the title, breaking our record in the process? Neither scenario appeals to me but I am now of the opinion that Liverpool supporters should focus on our team doing the best it possibly can and not worrying about what other teams do. As John Henry said when he bought the club, if United win their 19th league title we’ll just have to win two.
Kenny Dalglish has brought back a lot of the old Liverpool traditions since he took over from Roy Hodgson. The return of our pass and move style, the ability to keep clean sheets and an end to the habit of airing the club’s dirty laundry in public are all examples of positive changes that have been evident since he became the manager. I believe Kenny will also get the club back to letting other teams worry about what we are doing rather than the other way around.
If Liverpool don’t make it into the Champion’s League there is the chance that certain players will want to leave and it will be harder to persuade other top players to join the club. So if United were to do us a favour and beat Chelsea, whilst I won’t be celebrating, I won’t be as disappointed as I usually am when they win. Instead I’d look to our next game – against them – and the opportunity to say thank you by winning the game, denting their title prospects but most importantly, enhancing our chance of finishing in the top four.