Yesterday was a nice spring day and it was almost as if the weather was the cue for everyone to cask a furtive glance forward to May.
So out of hibernation came talk of the title and what needs to be done to close the gap on the Mancs, which after last night now stands at eight points. Hmm an easy solution simply get eight more points than them between now and May! Belief that we can do this is clearly strong as seen in the number of quotes coming from L4.
Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt and even Mauricio Pellegrino have come out with confidence prose about our chances. The latter referring to overhauling an eight point gap when he was playing for Rafa at Valencia.
“In football and in sport in general anything is possible. As long as your rivals do not have too many points with too few games left to play then of course they can still be caught – there are so many examples of this happening. “When I was with Valencia as a player there was a time when we were eight points behind Real. This was in the 2003/04 season. We had won La Liga in 2001/02. This time we were behind and lots of people did not think we could catch them.”
Talk is one thing but we actually have to do it and hopefully the rest has given us a chance to take stock and has instilled fresh purpose and confidence in the squad? Rafa feels that we are in good shape.
“The rest was good for us “We had been playing too many games in a row and so it was important for the players to rest and enjoy some time with their families. We need to be ready for the important weeks ahead.”
However, for today’s game will have to do without Steven Gerrard although reports suggest we will be fit for Real on Wednesday. Add to that the suspended Alonso and for once we’ve limited options in midfield. Presumably Lucas will be given the chance to atone for the errors he made against Wigan, conceding a penalty and Everton, getting sent off.? However, despite this we must be confident. Despite Manchester City’s big spending they are still an unpredictable, inconsistent and, if you’re a fan I suspect, frustrating outfit. Home form is good away from is bad add to this the after shock of the trip to Denmark this week and things must be in our favour? It needs to be with United beating Blackburn last night however, as Rafa said earlier this week, we need to think about ourselves.
“The first thing to stress is that we cannot change anything that other teams are doing unless we are playing them. We can only improve the things that depend on us and what we do ourselves – so it is important that we keep our focus.”
Prediction? I don’t think it will be a repeat of the 3-2 humdinger both sides fought out at Eastlands last October however, hopefully the result will be just as satisfying if not as exciting. 2-0 to us.
October 2008 Manchester City 2 Liverpool 3