The last time Liverpool won the league Maggie Thatcher was still in power, ‘baggy music’ had just arrived on the scene, people had only just logged on to the worldwide web and we still only had four terrestrial channels to choose from.
1990 provided Liverpool with their 18th First Division title and no-one back then would have thought it possible that over a quarter of a century later they’d still be waiting for number 19 to arrive at Anfield.
As number of false dawns have happened since, most recently when a Luis Suarez-inspired side finished second in the 2013/14 season to Manchester City. Reds fans dare not hype up the team’s chances of ending the drought for fear of another failure but, privately, there is an inner confidence about their chances.
While Chelsea are firm favourites, the boys in blue are not the immune to failure as Spurs so brutally showed a few weeks ago, in ending their long unbeaten Premier League record.
With Manchester City going backwards, Liverpool appear to be their biggest threat. Had Zlatan Ibrahimovic not scored a late equaliser on Sunday, the Reds would have beaten both Manchester clubs 1-0 in the space of a fortnight. To highlight their quality, they are unbeaten against top-six sides this season, picking up 12 points from six games.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have fostered a great team spirit, an important factor at any point in a campaign but more so when the stakes are highest, and while their ability to score goals has not been at its most obvious in the last two games against United and Southampton, their attacking threat is multi-faceted and normally hard to stop.
Any side that has so players who can inter-change between positions so easily is going to be difficult to read defensively, and as well as creating chances, they are also proficient at putting them away too. The fact they are not solely reliant on a Suarez, for example, to find the back of the net, works in their favour. The Reds boast 12 different goal scorers in the Premier League season and half-a-dozen have found the net four times – more than any other club, with Sadio Mane leading the way on nine.
That ability to spread the goals around allied to the flexibility of their approach under Klopp, means they are less vulnerable should any one individual fall victim to injury or incur a suspension.
Wednesday night’s long trip to Plymouth for the F.A. Cup 3rd round reply clearly isn’t ideal to the team’s preparations for the visit of Swansea in the Premier League at the weekend but with the way the hapless Welsh side have been performing of late, they could probably play three-legged and still get a result.
It is the week after where they have most to worry about. Following on from the second leg of the English Football League Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton, that could easily go to extra-time, Liverpool entertain Chelsea. The Londoners hold a seven-point lead over them at the top of the table and Liverpool know that if they lose that one, they can effectively kiss goodbye to their title hopes.