And so it began, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Anfield in August 2013, a story about how an under-dog, against all odds, went on to challenge the stalwarts of the Premier League. They were considered below-par, termed mediocre by several pundits and football intellectuals around the world. Earlier, teams above in the table looked at them with utter disregard, belittling them for lack of spirit and quality. The Under-dog in question doubted itself, tending to self-destruct and self-consume on the football pitch. It felt subordinate to other clubs and dove into a self-developed mind-frame of inferiority. Not much can be achieved while living in fear. If you can’t believe in yourself then all hope is lost. Well what is life if not for hope. Clinging onto this life-dictum, this under-dog has fought its way back from oblivion. Back from a state of utter disarray and marginality. Liverpool FC is back to where they belong, in the upper echelons of the Premier League.
“It is unprecedented for a team to finish seventh in a season and go on to win the Premier League in the next”, said Brendan Rodgers in an interview halfway through the season. No one could dare challenge Rodgers’ statement. Going from 7th to 1st in this money-dominated league is an improbable and unachievable task. If you’d mentioned talks of the title to any Liverpool fan before the start of the season, they would have probably smacked the living out of you for insinuating a sarcastic slur. Yet here we are, conversing about winning the league after 24 long years.
Talk about how underdogs have gone on to achieve huge success in the past and thoughts of the Greek football team in 2004 comes to mind. They won the tournament as a by-product of relentless hard work and determination. You can never put down an honest individual, who through persistent drudgery will ultimately achieve their goal. Talent might beat hard work 9 out of 10 times but that 1 time out of 10, hard work will succeed over talent. This Liverpool FC side albeit possessing extremely talented players, has hard work and determination as its roots. No team works harder than them, no team closes down the opposition as aggressively as them and no team can go onto the pitch and dare to outrun them.
Liverpool FC face Manchester City tomorrow afternoon. Termed a ‘title-decider’, this game is probably of the greatest magnitude LFC has played in these 24 years. If we win, the league title would be only 4 games away. Yes, although Chelsea would provide another stern test before the finish, I’m assured that this win would give the team enough belief to defeat them on 27th April. We are riding a wave of positivity and freedom and if LFC play up to their usual high standards at home, I doubt anyone can match them.
Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and everyone else would put themselves on the line to secure victory tomorrow. Gerrard specially, considering this as one final chance to achieve his long coveted Premier League medal, would go out all guns blazing. He would be the beast he usually metamorphoses into before matches against Everton and United. Manchester City might have the Yaya Toures and the Silvas but what Gerrard and co. have is something invaluably intangible – an irrepressible belief in themselves and fervent desire to win the precious trophy.
David did defeat Goliath in the old folk story, but an under-dog doesn’t always go the distance. There have been several unpopular stories of underdogs who fought right until the end but failed to win it all. Liverpool FC might yet lose tomorrow and bow out of the title race, but the pride and joy they have given to every supporter this season would last forever. All of us can only wait and see if this would indeed be the perfect under-dog story. Until then we shall continue to see Gerrard in our dreams, walk up those few steps to the stage and lift that shining trophy aloft. Euphoria. Ecstasy. Outwordly.