Steven Gerrard is four "cup finals" away from Premier League glory.
His unquenchable thirst to add a Premier League winners medal to his other several illustrious honours was evident, his face tearful as Mark Clattenburg signalled for full-time on Sunday. His emotion embodied the desire and unity in this outstanding Liverpool team, his jubilant colleagues huddled around him.
"Listen, this is gone" he said. "We go to Norwich. Exactly the same. We go together. Come on!".
No one is more worthy of a title triumph than the England captain; a golden reward for his excellent loyalty, having previously refused offers from Real Madrid and Chelsea. The scrawny figure who made his debut on a cold Anfield afternoon, replacing Vegard Heggem with the clock showing 90 minutes as Liverpool cruised to a victory over Blackburn Rovers, has become an icon, a leader and a legend.
They told him Liverpool's glory days would never return. The skipper himself confessed to the highly feasible prospect of retirement without a Premier League winners medal, citing the 2008-09 under Rafa Benitez as his best opportunity to lift the trophy aloft. Having signed a two-year contract in the summer, diffusing speculation over his future, he committed himself entirely to his boyhood club. Now, he is reaping the rewards for his unstinting loyalty.
He warned his team-mates of complacency in the post-match huddle, and the younger contingent in the team, the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Jon Flanagan, will need Gerrard's wise guidance in this tense run-in. One error, one slight misjudgement and Gerrard's dream, and that of thousands of others, is in serious doubt.
Jose Mourinho, on April 27, promises to inflict serious damage on his wishes. The Portuguese boss is a master in negotiating immaculate victories and will set out his team to defend and attack in an equally adept manner, intending to exploit Liverpool's unsure defence. Chelsea's win at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season and their famous fightback against Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League were excellent prototypes of Mourinho's meticulous nature - he will leave nothing to chance.
Nonetheless, Liverpool are in control of this enthralling title race, the most gripping and absorbing for years. They are expected to win at Carrow Road, against a Norwich side fighting desperately to avoid relegation, before Chelsea and arguably the world's best manager, Jose Mourinho, roll into town. Crystal Palace (away) and Newcastle (home) conclude the line-up. Liverpool, and Gerrard, are tantalisingly close to ending a frustrating 24-year wait for league glory.
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