We’ve had several false dawns before, as far as Liverpool and a Premier League title challenge are concerned. Indeed, the Reds haven’t really got anywhere near winning the league under Rafael Benitez and, with less than a quarter of the season gone, the bookmakers still have them as third-favourites to land the spoils. However, could this campaign see them finally realise their potential?
The Guardian report that Rafael Benitez is insistent that the Merseyside club’s 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge has sent out a massive message to their title rivals, claiming that clubs will now have to sit up and take notice after they ended the Blues’ 86-match unbeaten run. While it was an outstanding performance from the visitors to win the game, especially without Fernando Torres absent, does this result mean anything more than three points gained in the league?
“I think everybody was talking about the statistics against the top sides before,” said Benítez, referring to Liverpool’s failure to win an away game against one of the other top-four clubs during his reign. “We needed a win here to improve. We were coming here unbeaten and they were unbeaten for a long time so it was a massive game, and to come here and show the character the players showed today was a big boost for the rest of the season.
“I think [the win] means that we have the belief, that we have the mentality we need against the top sides,” continued the manager, who hailed the “quality” his players had demonstrated to overcome a Chelsea side who had not tasted defeat under Scolari. “To win here was a really big thing for everybody, and so to win here sends a massive message to the other teams of what we can do.”
Liverpool certainly deserve their moment of glory, although Xabi Alonso’s goal came as a result of a fortunate deflection, which then gave Benitez’s men the confidence to get their foot on the ball and stretch Chelsea. Now it’s all about continuing the winning run at home to Portsmouth; an inability to land anything other than three points would mean that Sunday’s achievement will no longer seem as significant as it does right now.