In a word, yes. The more pertinent question is will they? In two words, probably not.
A little about me – I am a 41 year old Liverpool fan. I have supported them since I was 7 years old but only became a “hardcore” fan when I was in my early twenties. I went to my first Anfield game in 98 and have attended over 50 games in the years since.
So why do I say probably not? Well the main factor is the strength of the two favourites, Chelsea and Man City. Their strength in depth far outweighs Liverpool’s and while everyone in the media is currently riding high on the Liverpool feel-good factor the fact of the matter is an injury to either Suarez or Sturridge seriously dents their already slim chances.
Man City have proven their strength recently by having Aguero out for a not insignificant period of time and continuing to find goals and, more importantly, victories. They also won against Hull recently with 10 men after Kompany, far and away their best defender, was sent off in the first 10 minutes. They are still in the driving seat – they can afford to lose one of their games in hand and still go top of the table on goal difference.
Chelsea also are in a very strong position. I am sure most Chelsea fans will have read the previous paragraph and stated that they would rather have the points than the games in hand. They are currently top of the league and have shipped 10 goals past their two local rivals in two games – games they were dominating even before the opposition both times went down to 10 men. Mourinho has done what he has done so regularly for his teams in the past – given them belief. There is no argument that their strikers are not top quality. Torres has been a shadow of the player who tormented defences for Liverpool (thanks for the £50million by the way, it was greatly appreciated), No-one will argue that Eto’o is far from his best although he has scored some very useful goals this season and non-Chelsea fans can be forgiven for forgetting that Demba Ba even still plays in the Premiership. Yet despite this Chelsea are free-scoring and have a very tight defence.
So do Liverpool have any chance? Yes absolutely. They have by far the easiest run-in of the three sides. They only have 3 games away from home for the rest of the season all against bottom half opposition (West Ham, Norwich and Crystal Palace). Both Chelsea and Man City have to come to Anfield where Liverpool’s stats are almost as dominant as their rivals – 12 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss – 42 goals scored compared to 12 conceded.
Like Man City they have no other commitments. They can treat, and have been treating, every game like a cup final.
And most importantly they believe. Hard. Old Premier League Liverpool sides would have lost the game away to Fulham in February when they had destroyed Arsenal 5-1 the game previously. Saturday’s game away at Cardiff would have been a major banana skin and a probable loss after going away to Man Utd and dominating them. But this side does not. When faced with adversity they keep going. They have total confidence that they will outscore the opponents and win the game.
Only once in the last 20 years can I think of a Liverpool side like this and that was in the second half of 2009 when Rafa‘s side destroyed all who came before them and we ended the season second with a club record 82 points.
The two games at Anfield in April are crucial. Man City 13th and Chelsea on 27th. If Liverpool win them both and haven’t dropped too many points beforehand then I will believe. But, until then, like most Liverpool supporters I will assume we will finish third and, while ruing the fact that this is probably going to be Liverpool’s best chance to win the elusive Title for a while, I will be very grateful that we are back in the Champion’s League and have, finally, been genuine contenders in a Title race.
No Liverpool fan in their right mind could say this season has been anything other than an absolute revelation and a joy to behold no matter what happens from this point on.