The Missing Piece

Published by Dodsy.

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As the enigmatic Klopp batted away questions, denying the possibility that Liverpool will fade in their title challenge, one query kept returning to me.

Why does it feel inevitable that Man City will win the league?

Sure, they have a fantastic squad, a brilliant manager and an unbelievable drive. But so do Liverpool.

So, what is it then?

Perhaps because City has a squad full of proven winners – they have been there and done it before. It is a well-used argument, but one that falls down under a little scrutiny. If it were always the case that past-winners won, then no one after the inaugural champions would ever win anything. It would be boring and predictable, and no one could ever accuse the Premier League of being that.

What is the missing ingredient, the final jigsaw piece that bridges the gap for Liverpool between a good season and glory?

There is an aura around Manchester City when they play and the belief is always that they will find a way to win, despite the circumstances. And for the most part they do. But with eight games to go, only 1 points separate the Champions to their nearest rivals. Why then, when we have spent the last few months watching similar performances from the two teams, do Liverpool not have the same aura? It might be that Liverpool won’t throw it away, but Man City will just march inevitably towards the title.

Maybe it is down to expectations. For the City hierarchy, winning the league is a bare minimum, and even that without a deep European run may not be seen as successful. For Liverpool, a close-run title chase and a solid second position shows progress. There may be those there that consider that good enough. Perhaps the biggest issues is that some in the organisation may hold the belief, even for a fleeting moment, that second in a difficult Premier League counts as success.

It is too easy to suggest City just have a better team. In terms of squads, the difference is slim. One could argue that City have a deeper team but is it significant? I don’t think so. I would arguably choose more Liverpool players for the Team of the Season than City players. Maybe Liverpool lack a creative midfielder to unlock the door, but City can only look at Liverpool’s back four with jealous and admiring glances. In my mind, they cancel each other out.

Maybe it is impossible to put your finger on the reason. Maybe Liverpool will prove me and others wrong and win the league. They have the players, they have the manager and they should have the belief. But somehow, it doesn’t feel like they will. For some reason, it feels like Man City have a missing piece that Liverpool haven’t found yet and with just eight games to go, Klopp better search for it quickly.

 

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Shin Pads & Angry Dads

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