By Ghanshyam Shenoy (@ghanshyam1989)
Anyone who watches the sport of professional cycling like The Tour De France will know that during a sprint finish the timing of the sprint i.e. the timing we go out of the slip stream of the cyclist in front and attack to reach the line, is one of the most amazing things in that sport. This phenomenon is particularly important because sprinters are not known to have the kinds of energy that the full race riders like Bradley Wiggins have. They produce their energy in bursts right at the end of the race, in the finishing straight. If they attack too early they run out of steam towards the end, if they wait and attack late, the opponent has run out in front.
The comparison of this sprinting phenomenon to Liverpool football club is made because unlike Chelsea or Manchester City, Liverpool does not have the squad required to go to the top of the table, right from December and maintain the lead right to finish. They should be and till now, they are like a sprinter, maintaining the position in the group at the front.
With the relatively small squad, Liverpool will need to get the noses in front of the pack at that exact moment when it will be easier to maintain the lead at the top. For me ideally, the game against Chelsea is that moment. If we go on top after beating Chelsea, with only 2 games to go, Crystal Palace away and Newcastle at home the wait for that title will be over.
This is not to say that if we go on top anytime from now to April, we can’t maintain the lead, we have SAS+ Gerrard+ Sterling+ etc. but being on top of the table brings that unnecessary pressure from the media and people from the world of football (which happened in December) and because Rodgers and our players have seldom faced this situation, the pressure might just be too hot to handle for us and if this happens now in April we don’t have the time to recover.
Chelsea might feel hard done by if we win it after them being on the top for so long. Whatever Jose says they along with City are still the favorites for the title. As long as we are in the pack at the end of April, we have as much a chance to win it as those two clubs and whatever happens from now till the end of the season, Liverpool is back, sprinting back to the glory days.