Can Liverpool claim to be the 'neutrals favourites' to win the Premier League? - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

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."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week