Michael Owen: Liverpool on course to win title the ‘right way’
Former Reds striker says Brendan Rodgers deserves ‘huge credit’ for progress made this season
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen in action against at Lansdowne Road in 1998 .Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES
The Reds are currently five points clear of Sunday’s visitors Chelsea with three matches to play and six in front of third-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
They are the Premier League’s top scorers with 96 goals, five in front of City, and Owen said the brand of football they had played this season had allowed them to make a huge leap forward from also-rans last year.
“It is amazing the transformation from last season. From seventh last season Brendan Rodgers has done an outstanding job,” said the former England international. “I don’t think many teams will come from seventh to win it, certainly in such a competitive league as the Premier League.
“Huge credit to him (Rodgers) and the rest of the team, which has some outstanding players but have been guided superbly by the manager.
“I think he has surprised everyone. At the start of the season I tipped Liverpool to come fourth and I was accused of being drunk — and that was one of the more polite things said to me.
“No-one had them to win the league. They were long odds against to do it and he has manufactured an unbelievable attacking team that has pace all over it, goals all over it.
“That is the pleasing thing if Liverpool go on to win the league; it has been done in the right way as they have blitzed a lot of teams and outscored them, particularly at Anfield.
“It has been a great season to watch.”
It is 24 years since Liverpool won the last of their 18 titles, which signalled the end of almost three decades of unparalleled success. Owen does not believe that situation will occur again when one side dominates all before them.
“It is obviously really exciting: a couple more good results and Liverpool will be crowned champions,” he added. “First things first is for Liverpool to win the league but then the season starts afresh in August and that is the key, to get a sustained period like we have seen with Liverpool a few decades ago.
“Sustained dominance is very difficult in this day and age, with the money around at other clubs, but just to be in that top echelon of European football again is great to see.”
Liverpool are set to receive a boost for the crunch clash with Chelsea, where victory would rule Jose Mourinho’s side out of the title race, as striker Daniel Sturridge is expected to be fit.
The England forward missed last weekend’s win at Norwich — Liverpool’s 11th in succession — with a hamstring problem but looks set to return at Anfield on Sunday.