As the July sunshine finally scorches down on England after weeks of summer downpour this month, a familiar feeling ripples through the stomach of Liverpool supporters throughout the nation.
This sensation has occurred in the soul of every Reds fan at this time of the year for over a decade now, and will only be wiped away for good when the team that they cherish so much can deliver the ultimate gift to their thousands of loving followers.
Of course, this magical prize that will cure the heartache of all Liverpool supporters is the Premier League title, which has mainly been shared between Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea since the club last won it so many long years ago. The Champions League is adored so much by Reds fans, but after five victorious nights in finals of this historic and glorious competition, it is time the longest marathon of them all was won.
The league is thirty-eight games long and offers the greatest challenge to all club sides. Whoever stands top of the pile at the end of this gruelling yet exciting adventure will deserve to be there, and they will be rightfully crowned kings of the country. The league table never lies when all the fixtures have been completed, and it is certainly not false to say that Liverpool have been a long way off the pace in recent times in this competition.
Soon Manchester United will overtake Liverpool in the number of league titles they have won, and this will be the first major step backwards for a club whose tradition spells out the word success. Normal service must be resumed very soon for a club whose fans have grown increasingly frustrated at the lack of title challenge every season at the summit of the Premier League.
It was eighteen years ago that the club won the league championship, and never under current manger Rafa Benitez have the club finished in the top two, statistics that haunt all Reds fanatics. However glorious they might be to win, European Cups, FA Cups and League Cups will no longer suffice for Liverpool fans. These type of victories will still be warmly welcomed of course, and the manager and players will rightfully be heaped with praise when these trophies return to our trophy cabinet, but just one success in the Premier League would out-do any other victorious celebrations.
Whenever Liverpool supporters debate with rival fans from the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and even Chelsea, they are left to defend themselves from a barrage of taunts from all three sets of these opposition fans over their lack of any Premier League title whatsoever. Chelsea may be a much smaller club than their fellow top four members, and they may have one of the least successful histories and traditions of all league title winners, but even they can boast about their double Premier League success a few seasons ago.
It is about time Liverpool put their love of winning cup competitions behind them for a few seasons, and concentrate the majority of their efforts on lifting the most important trophy of all. It will be such a relief to all Reds supporters when this feat is finally achieved, but until then a dark cloud will hang over their credibility.
So, is this the year that England’s most successful club of all time go back to the traditional way of doing things – by winning the league?
Benitez is currently courting Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry and Tottenham striker Robbie Keane, but because they would both require hefty transfer fees to sign, it may turn out than only one of these talented individuals can come to Anfield this summer. Liverpool are still four or five match-winning players short of Manchester United and Chelsea at the moment though, so winning the Premier League this season may prove to be a near impossible task.
For this upcoming campaign at least, all Reds fans want is for the club to mount a serious challenge at the top of the table – something that they have not managed for quite some time now.
For this summer and next though, Benitez must build a strong squad that is very capable of actually winning the title. This requires the signatures of at least two more world-class players – in the category of Gerrard, Carragher and Torres – and a few more very talented individuals than can light up the world’s greatest league.
These new faces will need time to bond and gel, but our title push must go ahead within the next five years at a maximum. After this period of time Steven Gerrard may be lumbering towards the end of his career, and the chances are that Liverpool won’t have a player as good to replace him. They must act now and take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Manchester United and Chelsea will remain favourites for this season’s crown, but in the next few years Liverpool might just reform themselves as the kings of footballing success in this country by finally lifting the Premier League title once again.