Liverpool Football Club is not a team of destiny. I don’t believe that any club is any more destined to be crowned a champion than the next. I’m a religious man to a certain extent. I was raised in a Catholic family, which is to say that I attend church about once a year when I visit my nieces and nephews over the holidays. I still observe Lent and I do believe in God. But I don’t believe that a higher power has anything to do with making sure that a professional sports club wins a championship at any level. To suggest that implies that he is against a larger set of supporters and that just doesn’t seem right to me. No, Liverpool Football Club is not a team of destiny. They are a team of some great players peaking at the right time, getting some fortuitous results and calls along the way, while other clubs with greater resources appear to be on the decline.
Sunday was a magnificent result. No one will deny that it was the biggest victory of the season. Only moments before Coutinho perfectly struck that volley past a diving Joe Hart, David Silva nearly gave Manchester City the lead missing the side net by only a few inches. Liverpool dominated the first half of play, but City certainly turned the tide in the second. It really could’ve gone either way, or perhaps even a draw would’ve been deserved for both clubs. I’ve heard some rumblings that there was no way Liverpool would lose on the eve of the eve of the 25-year anniversary of Hillsborough. Make no mistake about it. Liverpool won that match because they never stopped fighting. They were constantly under pressure, and a third City goal looked inevitable. Yet they hung in there and continued to work hard for all three points. It wasn’t gifted to them by 96 angels in the heavens. If you truly believe that divine intervention got the assist, then why bother watching these last four games? Why should Stevie Gerrard huddle the team after the match and remind them to “go to Norwich and do exactly the same thing.” These guys don’t believe that they are a team of destiny, and neither should you. Liverpool Football Club is going to have to earn title #19.
Those of you that know me well enough understand that I spent ten years of my life in the Coast Guard. If there was one phrase that I was constantly reminded in those formidable years, it was to “adapt and overcome.” Think about that statement and you realize that it’s the perfect response to almost anyone that is complaining, worrying, whining or venting. In short, it’s the perfect response for a football fan. Liverpool is on an impressive ten-game winning streak, and one constant throughout has been fitness. Their ability to use the same players and formation has been immense in this stretch. They are not a terribly deep squad, but I’ll pit Brendan Rodgers and the best Liverpool XI against any club in the league, if not Europe. I’m guessing that their FIFA 2015 team will be unbeatable. Unfortunately that isn’t the real world, and roster depth may end up being a factor. Daniel Sturridge has been an incredible striker for the Reds all season long, and if not for Luis Suarez he would be winning the Golden Boot. Now he’s got another injury, although we are still not sure how long he’ll be out. Jordan Henderson has played the most minutes for Liverpool all season long, the only Red field player to start all 34 league games this season. But his reckless challenge in stoppage time, and there is no other way to sugar-coat that tackle, will cause him to miss the next three matches. Where does that leave Liverpool? They’re in a tough spot. It’s time for the lads to adapt and overcome. Determination, heart, fortitude and grit can lift a club higher and further than they themselves could dream. On Sunday they were determined; they showed heart and fortitude; they were gritty. Now they need to “go to Norwich and do exactly the same thing.”
I’m not going to sit and try to dissect the lineup possibilities. It would be nice to see Luis Suarez step up and extend his current streak of hat tricks against Norwich City to four games, but I’m not counting on that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In the final weeks of the season, teams that are desperate and fighting for their Premiership lives are a dangerous fixture on the calendar, especially on the road. This will not be an easy match. There are four Cup Finals to go, and the next one is Sunday morning at 7 AM EST. If you are one of those fans buying into the hype of this “team of destiny” crap, feel free to sleep in and enjoy the morning. I, for one, know better than that and I will be watching early Sunday morning. Liverpool Football Club is not a team of destiny. They are a team of some great footballers with a fantastic captain leading the way and an intelligent tactician calling the shots. They are a team facing some adversity that needs to adapt and overcome. And I am going to enjoy watching them do it.