Sport Football Liverpool fairytale goes up in smoke

Liverpool fairytale goes up in smoke

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The script had been written, all the players had to do was follow their lines and the title would he heading to Merseyside for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

Twenty-five years after the Hillsborough disaster, and the painstaking search for justice the families of those who died have endured, Liverpool were poised to end years in the football wilderness.

Steven Gerrard’s loyalty is a rarity in top-level football. Photo: Getty

A league title would have been a seismic shift in English football’s power structure, west along the M62.

It was a Hollywood story, all it needed was red ribbons on the premier league trophy at the end of the season, and Brendan Rodgers joining favourite son Steven Gerrard on the dais.

If there was any karma in football, the English Premier League would have been Liverpool’s.

In a mercenary age, Gerrard’s story is a rare nugget on a bleak landscape of money and power.

After Hillsborough, Gerrard and the scintillating football Rodgers has got his side playing, surely Liverpool’s ledger was on the right side.

But they didn’t just fluff their lines, they froze. Their loss at home to Chelsea gave Manchester City the ascendancy, and their cataclysmic failure to take three points from Crystal Palace on Monday has effectively gift-wrapped Manuel Pellegrini’s men the league.

City are one point behind Liverpool, have a game in hand, superior goal difference and host lowly Aston Villa and West Ham in their final two games.

A title would have been a crowning glory for Gerrard, who rejected big-money offers from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in order to remain with the club he supported as a boy.

In a mercenary age, Gerrard’s story is a rare nugget on a bleak landscape of money and power.

If anyone deserved a league title, it was 33-year-old from Whiston. The fact it was his slip against Chelsea a week ago to hand Demba Ba a goal that now looks to have been the first nail in the coffin of Liverpool’s title dream is cruel and unusual punishment.

The Uruguayan’s copybook is indelibly blotted.

While Gerrard’s karma is in the black, perhaps it is the man who was inconsolable on the final whistle at Selhurst Park on Monday night that is the villain in all of this.

Luis Suarez’s ledger is firmly in the red – from taking a bite out of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, a handball on the line in a World Cup quarter-final, racially abusing Patrice Evra and then refusing to shake his hand the next time they played each other, the Uruguayan’s copybook is indelibly blotted.

Brendan Rodgers has Liverpool playing some of the most attractive football seen in recent years. Photo: Getty

Suarez even playing for Liverpool this season was a minor miracle, insisting he wanted to leave the club last year for one that was competing in the Champions League – another fine example of football loyalty in the new millennium.

Alas, this concept of footballing karma, or the ‘footy gods’ as those on this continent like to describe it, doesn’t exist.

Let’s face it, if it did John Terry wouldn’t have won anything.

It’s a sad story, but football and fairytales are like oil and water.

You get what you deserve over the course of a long league season, and – to this point in time – Liverpool have been just that little bit too fragile when it mattered to close it out.

It’s a sad story, but football and fairytales are like oil and water.

However, let’s not forget what happened two years ago when City stormed home to pip Manchester United.

There are a few bitten nails and shredded nerves still to come in Manchester and Liverpool over the next week or so.