by Reece Chambers
‘Bottlejobs’ has been a frequently used term this season. Manchester City bottled it when they lost to Crystal Palace and Leicester City. Liverpool bottled it when they drew away at West Ham and Manchester United.
With social media noise louder than ever, the term ‘bottlejobs’ has been grossly misused this season. So much criticism of the title race contenders has been unfair and quite simply inaccurate.
The current title race shows Liverpool to be on their highest ever points total at this stage of a Premier League season, 79, whilst Manchester City continue to blow teams away and ultimately have a one-point advantage on Klopp’s side.
However, neither side has bottled the league this season. Instead, the break-neck speed at which both sides are earning points exacerbates their very rare blimps in form. The outstanding performances of both teams have led to unrealistic expectations from fans.
Liverpool have only lost once in 32 games this season and they deserve great credit for constantly challenging Manchester City for the title. If this was a normal Premier League season, either City or Liverpool would be running away with the league by now. As it is, though, we could quite easily see a team finish with 90 points and still not finish top.
For Liverpool, the title race has added pressure given that they are yet to win a Premier League title. Such success has hung over every Liverpool manager since the beginning of the Premier League era and the sheer pressure on Klopp and his side to produce cannot be overstated.
The sheer desperation for the Redmen to win the league is tangible around the city. Fans perhaps don’t expect a league title – given the sheer brilliance of City – but being in the run-in with just a handful of games left is utterly torturous for the Kopites.
One thing that may give Liverpool hope is that they have ridden their luck at times this season. Most recently against Spurs where Hugo Lloris was at fault for a last-gasp winner for Klopp’s side. Similar luck was seen in the 1-0 win over Everton at the start of December when a wayward Virgil van Dijk cross-come-shot span off the bar and into the path of Divock Origi who sent Anfield into raptures.
That’s six points right there where Klopp’s side have pushed their fortune to the absolute maximum. They are not the same side as last season that would win games three, four or five nil. But, alternatively, they are a team who have picked up the invaluable habit of picking up results when they haven’t played their best.
Klopp will be the first to admit that Liverpool have ridden their luck at times this season, but that may well be a product of their well-balanced playing style.
As it is, Liverpool have an excellent chance of winning the Premier League for the first time. If they are to do so, they will need a few more flurries of luck and good fortune in order to dethrone what is a scintillating Manchester City side who seem incapable of losing at the moment.
Focusing on the few slices of luck that Liverpool have had this season is not to say they don’t deserve to be in the position they find themselves in. Instead, it could indicate that this title race could be determined by fate.