Thirty years without a league title is a long time for a club that has had much success in domestic and international football. It was nearly to be last season, but a good cushion early on was eaten away by the Man. City juggernaut, and losing by one point was painful. But, this season, the lads from Merseyside were like a train running out of control and their lead was comfortably large and then insanely wild, up to 25 points, needing 6 more to be sure of the title. Then… COVID19.
The long wait during the pandemic to see if English football would resume left many nervous that the unthinkable might happen: the season be declared null and void and no title awarded. Fortunately, that insanity did get to be applied. (It’s absurd to think that other leagues with leads that were narrower, decided to end and award titles—France and Scotland, for example. But, matches resumed on June 17, behind closed doors.
Bizarrely, Liverpool resumed last Sunday with the Merseyside derby, but without all the fanfare and emotional drama normally associated with that tie. City restarted well with two handsome wins and cut the lead as they made up games in hand. Liverpool stuttered at Goodison, but got back into top gear last night against Crystal Palace, who parked 11 buses but couldn’t stop four sumptuous goals to go down 4-0. So, tow points were needed, and City were playing Chelsea tonight at Stamford Bridge.
Well, never easy to watch matches like this, but both sides put on an exciting display, with some sloppy play on both sides that got duly punished. Chelsea (Pulisic) scored after a midfield mix-up for 1-0 at HT. City equalized after a silly free kick gave De Bruyne a good look and his free kick sailed in. Late in the half, a goal mouth scramble saw Fernandinho handle near the goal line and Willian dispatched the penalty kick for 2-1. City didn’t let up—proud to the last.
Liverpool will be celebrating in an odd way, with no mass crowds out in public. When and if they can get that fixed, we will have to see.
Congratulations to Jurgen Klopp (Mr. Energen bunny; adding to the two titles he won with Borussia Dortmund) and ‘the boys’: fabulous football, all season long. Still getting off the high of last year’s Champions League final win, off the amazing semifinal comeback to beat Barcelona. It’s been a ride and a half.
Though, I’m a lifelong QPR supporter, my love affair with Liverpool began in the 1960s, when they were managed by the incomparable Bill Shankly (“football,,,is more important than life and death”). I got to loved them more in the late-1970s, when they pipped QPR for the First Division title on the last day. I loved them more, when I lived in North Wales, and Merseyside was just around the corner and Scousers were as much my neighbours and friends and Welshmen. So, they never walked alone in my heart. Walk on!