By Scott Thompson, Arts & Entertainment Editor ||
As May approaches, so does the end of the Barclays Premier League season, and it sees a surprise at the top of the table. With five games to play, Liverpool has earned 74 points this season, giving them a two-point lead over Chelsea. Manchester City is in third place with 70 points but has played two less games, and Arsenal is in fourth place with 64 points.
Halfway through the season, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal were all considered favorites to lead the league, but Liverpool comes as a surprise. Although they had shown glimpses of excellence, it was expected that the team would fall apart due to a lack of depth. However, while they’ve had a few close games against lesser opponents, Liverpool are still playing at an elite level.
Over the summer, it was rumored that star forward Luis Suarez was unsettled, and he appealed for a transfer to Real Madrid, as well as league rivals, Arsenal. However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made it clear that Suarez wouldn’t leave for less than 60 million pounds.
While many considered this figure to be twice as much as the Uruguayan was worth, he has displayed why he was worthy of such a lofty price tag, scoring 29 goals so far and assisting 11 more, making him the most lethal player in the Premier League, and one of the greatest offensive threats in the world.
His striking partner, Daniel Sturridge, has scored 20 goals with 7 assists, making what is easily the best partnership in the Premier League, and arguably the world, right now. The duo has been dubbed “SAS,” necessary for many writers, as it’s rare to mention one without the other.
Perhaps the most valuable player on an intangible level is Steven Gerrard. The 33-year old Liverpool native has been captain since 2003, and has led them to one the of the most memorable moments in Liverpool history – the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul. In what is sure to be one of his final seasons, Gerrard has tallied 13 goals and 9 assists, while also captaining the English national team ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.
Lucas Leiva has battled injuries all season, a recurring theme over the past few years, but his presence as a defensive midfielder, though often unnoticed, has helped Liverpool possess the ball, while also aiding what is otherwise a mostly lacking defense, earning him trials with the Brazilian national team ahead of the World Cup.
Jon Flanagan, who is only 21-years-old, has finally emerged as the defender Liverpool expected him to be this season, filling in at left-back for José Enrique and Aly Cissokho. A natural right-back, his performance over the last few weeks has garnered global attention, the most notable of which came from one of the greatest Brazilian soccer players of all time, Cafu, who named Flanagan the “Red Cafu” in a tweet.
While spending less than half the money Chelsea and Manchester City spent this summer, Brendan Rodgers has managed to create one of the most exciting teams to watch in the world. With five games left in the season, including one against Manchester City and one against Chelsea, Liverpool have a chance to win the League for the first time in over 20 years.
However, to have any hopes of accomplishing this feat, the Reds will have to win their games against Chelsea and Manchester City, or hope for a lucky losing streak from these two Premier League powerhouses.
Sophomore Scott Thompson is the Arts and Entertainment Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.