TPQ's Tuesday columnist, Peter Anderson, is an avid Manchester City, fan so congratulations to him on his team securing yet another Premiership title. It must have been nerve-racking, It would have been harsh for arguably the best side in English soccer to return to a trophy-free zone.
For me, it was very much a tense affair - Liverpool at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, it should haver been a stroll in the park. If the Reds won and City were held to a draw or beaten, the EPL title was destined for Anfield. Yet keeping the Wolves away from the door for most of the game proved a strenuous challenge. The men from Wolverhampton were ahead with just two minutes gone and could easily have doubled their lead had their striker been more composed a little later with the goal at his mercy.
Tip to to tail in Liverpool attire I downed a half bottle of Powers in ninety minutes, so expletives competed with excitement on hearing that Aston Villa had gone into a 2-0 lead at Manchester City. My son asked are you blocked? Something of a brass neck given the state in which he rolled home last night. Was Steven Gerard about to regain his footing after the slip against Chelsea back in 2014 which many felt lost the Brendan Rodgers coached side the championship? I don't blame Gerrard for that - it happens, the footing goes. On the day Liverpool were unable to break down a Jose Mourinho blue bus parked in front of the 18 yard line.
Two years earlier Manchester City had snatched the title in the final minute of the final game, beating QPR 3-2. It was the stuff of real champions. Writing after the victory I quoted a fighting great: ‘a champion is someone who gets up when he can't.’ City are worthy champions, today again getting off the canvas to deliver the knock out blow and claim the title. It was a remarkable performance and they deserve their victory. Over the course of the season they were marginally the best team. But small margins count in soccer as Liverpool know only too well, having lost the most important league title in their history when they squandered a head start to Arsenal in 1989 on the final day of the season.
Today, Liverpool did not play well but still secured the points. It would not have mattered had they won 50-0. Once City secured a victory it was season over.
Liverpool might rue their failure to overcome Spurs in their recent home game, but there is no point in crying over spilt milk – had they won City might just have upped their game to beat West Ham instead of being held to a draw. Then the Etihad side were 2-0 down but we know what they are capable of as was demonstrated today, coming back against the Hammers only to miss a penalty which would have secured all three points, effectively making today's business superfluous. It was just pleasing that Liverpool did what they had to do. After that all hopes were placed on Villa holding City to a draw. It didn't happen and some consolation is to be derived from Liverpool not having blown it as they did in 2019 when seven points clear at Christmas. In January this year they were 14 points adrift off the lead yet still pushed City to the wire.
A worrying thought - does this Liverpool side have the mettle to beat Real Madrid in Paris next Saturday? I don't think it does. Its two trophies this season have been marginal victories, won on penalties. It is doubtful Madrid will let them get that far.
Still as Studs Terkel titled one of his books, Hope Dies Last . . . even for an irredeemable pessimist like me.
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