Liverpool are surging towards their first league title since 1990 with the unstoppable energy of a car full of scallies racing a stolen Range Rover through the backstreets of Toxteth to pick up a load of smack.
The way they’re going no-one would be surprised to see them finish the season unbeaten, thereby matching the astonishing achievement of our 2004 Invincibles – a feat which at the time was described as “once in a lifetime.”
But Liverpool haven’t done it yet, and there is one chance to stop them.
On April 5th they play away at Manchester City, who have the best coach in European football and the firepower of strikers like Aguero and Sterling. But that won’t be the game where they suffer defeat.
On March 14th they’re away at Everton in the Merseyside derby. The red-blue rivalry runs deep in Liverpool, but that won’t be it either. Despite the best efforts of Walcott and Iwobi Everton just won’t be good enough.
Nor will it happen on May 9th, when they entertain Chelsea. Young fat Frank may turn the Blues into champion contenders in the future, but this is a season of rebuilding for them.
So when will it happen?
The date to keep in your diary is May 2nd 2020, for that is when Liverpool head to the Emirates stadium to take on the Arsenal.
You think I’m kidding? You think we have no chance of beating Liverpool? I beg to differ and I have my reasons:
- We can all see the steady improvement in play and confidence that is happening under Mikel Arteta. It’s encouraging us now – how will it look in over three months’ time?
- Everyone at Arsenal is rightly proud of our amazing Invincibles and we all want to keep their achievement unsullied by being equalled by another team, so there will be strong desire throughout the club to inflict defeat on ‘Pool.
- By the time they visit, Liverpool may already be champions or so far ahead that becoming champions is all but guaranteed. No matter how you square it, players have a different mentality when they know the job is done (that job being winning a title). Yes, they would love to go unbeaten, but that pales beside the glory of becoming champions for the first time in 30 years and, psychologically, they are bound to slacken off a little.
- Don’t ignore the Arteta factor. There are two teams who have the biggest incentive to stop Liverpool becoming Invincibles. Arsenal, for obvious reasons, and Everton, as their fierce local rivals. Mikel Arteta embodies both those clubs. He will want an Arsenal win more than anyone.
- While Liverpool are streets ahead as the best team in the EPL this year, we all know that our squad is good enough, when fit and functioning properly, to pull out a win against anyone.
- The battling 10-man draw at Chelsea – coming from behind twice – showed that a resilient core is beginning to form in the team.
Naturally the bookies will give long odds on us beating Liverpool when they visit, but some things are just written in the stars and this may well be one of them.
Of course there’s a whole other hypothetical to consider: how would Liverpool of 2020 fare against Arsenal of 2004? Don’t get me started…