Liverpool v Leeds United is a massive game, looming large over the weekend’s fixtures as result after result opened the door a little bit wider for the Reds.
Maybe not mathematically true, but a top-four finish is in Liverpool’s hands.
With the teams around us having to play one another, with their form shaky and with injuries mounting, or in Chelsea’s case their number of games increasing, Liverpool just need to put a semi-decent run of results together and that coveted Champions League spot will be ours.
Do we deserve it? Some will say yes, some will say no. I’d say if we achieve it then yes, we do.
Is it going to be hard graft? For sure. We’re currently enjoying our best league form of the season and we will need it to continue in a similar fashion if this goal is to be achieved.
Is it going to be nail-biting? Maybe not quite as much as the expected title run-in. But I was there in 2017 when Gini scored the crucial first goal against Middlesbrough to secure 4th spot. Not often have I felt as relieved with a Liverpool goal as I did with that one.
Does it matter? For the finances of the club: massively. For the fans who love European nights and European aways: massively. For the players who want to play in the big games: massively…
Flash-forward a few years and, if FSG get their way, I wouldn’t be arsed about this game. Not one bit. I wouldn’t spend hours looking at West Ham’s fixtures. I wouldn’t care less about Everton’s not-so-surprising ability to balls up their best season in decades (actually, that will never stop being funny).
Because it wouldn’t matter.
Let’s be clear. The proposals our owners are integral in putting forward are designed to create a closed shop. A closed shop where the rich get richer and the rest of the football world becomes insignificant.
West Ham could have the season of their lives. And their reward would be? Who knows? Meanwhile, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal could all just coast through the season knowing their revenues and big European nights are all secured.
The Premier League would just not matter. It would become a glorified Carabao Cup.
In this reality, West Ham’s season of their life could only result in a seventh place finish. The financial doping would allow ‘the big six’ to assemble squads so much better and deeper than their Premier League rivals that competition would collapse.
But John Henry, FSG, the owners of Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid et al do not care one bit about any of that.
They don’t want what’s best for the fans. They want to sell their brands to Asian and American markets.
They don’t care that our day-to-day lives will lose that magical ingredient. I love that Leeds United v Liverpool matters. They actually want it to not matter.
I’m ashamed that my club is involved in this. It stinks.
I’m not naive enough to think that money doesn’t govern football at the moment. Man City’s FFP swindle and Sky Sports’ and the Premier League’s pay-per-view diddle are just two recent incidents where money talked. Bend the rules and screw the fans.
I know some will argue that the clubs are the ones who bring in the money so they should deserve to get more than their fair share of the profits.
I also know that UEFA’s proposals are designed to line the pockets of their own money men. Just like they were with every change to the European Cup since 1992.
The Premier League may make statements trying to take the high-ground. But let’s be clear, they aren’t worried about me. They aren’t worried about you. They are worried about their own product and their own profits.
But at least with their model comes sporting chance, jeopardy, and peril. West Ham should not be in fourth place this season. Their squad is not as strong as Liverpool’s and their manager is David Moyes. Yet there they are. And fair play to them for it. If they pull it off they get to reap the rewards. That’s how sport should work.
I want Liverpool to be successful. It’s been the one constant thing I’ve wanted in my life since I was seven years-old. But do I want it served up on a silver platter? No. I want them to earn it. I don’t want our place at the top table guaranteed.
I want Leeds away to mean everything. I want to win more league titles than Manchester United and get back on our fucking perch. I want the European Cup of Rome, Wembley, Paris, Rome again, Istanbul and Madrid to still matter and I want to add more to the list. This is what I was sold as a kid, this is what I signed up for.
Liverpool Football Club will become richer if FSG these proposals go ahead. But our lives will become poorer.
Shame on them.