Date:Saturday February 20 2010
City versus Liverpool not long ago would have meant one thing and one thing only- damage limitation. How many goals would we be beaten by and 'we're not really here' come the inevitable last minute winner- for them.
Things change though thankfully and for the first time in along while now City fans are going to games full of belief and expectation. In fact it speaks volumes for how far we have come that the trip to Chelsea next week is the first league game I have feared all season.
That's not because City themselves are poor but due to the obvious supremacy of a Chelsea side that can only throw the title away in many peoples mind this year.
Yet that same aura of invincibility that Liverpool used to have over most teams has vanished along with the scousers' title hopes this season and one can only wonder why it has come to this after so many years of success.
The answer of course lies in Jack Sparrow's famous question, 'Where's all the rum gone?' The answer Jack of course being that the well has dried up and the replacement water stinks!
But there is more to the Liverpool mess than a few dollars as a certain Spaniard has been at the helm for more than a few years and has made some interesting buys to say the least.
Just ask any Liverpool fan how many of the current squad deserve to put on the famous red shirt on and they'll probably reach for the nearest can of Carlsberg hand a quivering.
For where quality Carling Premier once was, there is now Bud Light and well it just isn't what the passionate Liverpool wants to see.
Gone are the likes of Hypia, Alonso, Anelka (they could have kept him) and Arbeloa and in are the likes of Lucas, Insua, Babel and Riera who don't exactly make you quiver with fear at the prospect of facing them.
Its a great shame as I like Liverpool a club full of passion and a history of winning and not to mention the team that carried the fight to the rags whilst God's own club was having a kip for a few decades or so.
City now of course have well and truly awoken from their slumber and have the only unbeaten home record in the Premiership other than Chelsea.
We are fourth on merit and also have their game in hand still to play after tomorrow. So for us we still have that safety net and that should help us come the whistle tomorrow.
It is Liverpool who should be quivering in their boots with the likes of the past it Carragher and not ready for it Insua perhaps losing a bit of sleep at the thought of facing Bellamy, Wright-Phillips, Johnson and Co.
Liverpool have everything to lose, none more so than their Champion's League status and although there are those in Merseyside playing down the importance of today's battle, come the end of May, everyone on the City side knows that this is a six-pointer for them.
For Liverpool a loss would be devastating to both morale and their top four aspirations. Of course there is also the ill-advised guarantee of a top four finish that Rafa Benitez has promised to live up to.
Most Liverpool fans must be wincing at the thought of going to City tomorrow and their players should be feeling the pressure too.
City must get at them from the start and hope for an atmosphere as hostile as a few we've been accustomed to recently.The crowd will be a huge factor as we noticed at Goodison Park and The Britannia Stadium.
It is our time now to step up to the plate and the only thing that is really missing is the self-belief. By beating Liverpool tomorrow we will have beaten all of the 'Big Four' at home and sent a message to the whole league that we are the real deal.
More importantly it will give the player the confidence they need going into games against Stoke and Chelsea away and Tottenham. For Liverpool it will mean looking over their shoulders at Spurs and Villa and playing catch up for the remainder of the season.
So let the games begin and may the best team win .. as long as they're playing in Sky Blue of course.
Date:Saturday February 20 2010
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