Can Liverpool claim to be the 'neutrals favourites' to win the Premier League?

The Reds are in contention to win the title along with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City

Liverpool full-back Glenn Johnson has claimed that neutrals are rooting for his side as the Premier League title race nears its conclusion.

The Reds are among four teams still in contention to take Manchester United's title. They're joined by Chelsea, who currently lead the table, Arsenal, who faltered badly at the weekend and Manchester City, who have games in hand.

But is Johnson right? Can Liverpool claim to have the backing of the neutrals over their rivals?

Johnson puts it down to a few factors, which we take a closer look at here as well as other reasons why Liverpool have a claim to be favourites among the neutrals...

A CHANGE

According to Johnson, "Just to spice things up the neutrals would want to see us win it. Nobody wants the same teams to be winning it over and over again. I guess the neutrals will be packing a punch for us."

The England international might have a point. Manchester City won the title just two years ago, Chelsea under Carlo Ancelotti won the Premier League in 2009/10 and also won back to back titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06. Arsenal last won a title 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, Liverpool haven't won the title since the 1989/90 season and have never won it in the Premier League era. Change is good, as they say.

Manchester City were the last winners among the current contenders Manchester City were the last winners among the current contenders  

BEST FOOTBALL

"People watch football to enjoy themselves, see goals and see exciting football, and I think we do provide that," said Johnson. "I think people will be rooting for us because it will be something different."

There's little denying that Liverpool are this season's entertainers. They've scored more than any of the other contenders with 82 goals (City 76, Chelsea 62, Arsenal 53). They've also conceded more than the rest with 38 finding their way past Simon Mignolet (Arsenal 34, City 27, Chelsea 23).

 

Anfield can also boast to be the home to the Premier League's two top goal scorers with Luis Suarez leading the way on 28 and Daniel Sturridge on 19. Manchester City occupy the third and fourth positions with Yaya Toure on 16 and Sergio Aguero on 15. No team in the Premier League era has ended the season with the two top goal scorers.

Brendan Rodgers has led a revival in Liverpool fortunes Brendan Rodgers has led a revival in Liverpool fortunes  

THE UNDERDOG

Before the season started it was widely expected that Manchester City and Chelsea would be among the contenders. The arrivals of Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho respectively looks like good moves for both clubs and have proved to be so. Arsenal are among the most consistent teams, qualifying for the Champions League through the league since Arsene Wenger arrived at the club nearly 20 years ago.

Liverpool's excellent season has been as stunning as Manchester United's capitulation. As United were crowned champions last May, Liverpool found themselves in seventh on 61 points. They've already passed that total and have eight games to play. Were Liverpool to win the title, it'd be the biggest shock in Premier League history.

Read more: Rodgers wants supporters to 'believe'
Suarez 'the difference' between Liverpool and Spurs
Suarez treble papers over defensive cracks

Jose Mourinho arrived back at Stamford Bridge last summer Jose Mourinho arrived back at Stamford Bridge last summer  

NOSTALGIA

While Liverpool might be classed as underdogs this season it only signifies how far their star had fallen. Those of a certain age will remember the Reds as the dominant force in English football, the team containing the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and John Barnes who won eight titles in 15 seasons between 1975/76 and 1989/90.

Some neutrals (if not all) will enjoy seeing Liverpool return to their former glories.

John Barnes (left) and Peter Beardsley celebrate Liverpool's last title – back in 1990 John Barnes (left) and Peter Beardsley celebrate Liverpool's last title – back in 1990

PLAYERS

When the season started out, Liverpool arguably did not have the most likeable of teams. Suarez was still serving a 10-match ban for biting an opponent and the other half of the SAS has hardly ever endeared himself.

However, the performances of Suarez this season have won over the majority with few able to do much but marvel at his talents. Meanwhile, Sturridge has emerged as one of the most talented and exciting out-and-out strikers England have had at their disposal for some time.

In a World Cup year, the fact Liverpool is home to a number of England internationals who will carry the nations hopes this summer can only help. Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard is joined by Johnson, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling.

Luis Suarez, left, and Daniel Sturridge, right Luis Suarez, left, and Daniel Sturridge, right  

ANTI-UNITED

Many 'neutrals' have enjoyed watching the demise of Manchester United this season. After lording it over English football for so many years, the troubles since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson have been marked.

That United have slipped out of contention in the Premier League and have lost hope of qualifying for the Champions League through a top four position has only been compounded by their greatest rivals seamlessly slotting into their place among the upper echelons of the table.

Gerrard take a penalty against Manchester United Gerrard take a penalty against Manchester United  

Whether Liverpool can go on and take United's crown remains to be seen. "At the moment we are playing well and getting the goals," said Johnson. "It's a case of staying calm and keeping it going."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms