Liverpool FC is considered by many (myself included) as the most successful English club in English soccer. Their eighteen league crowns & their five European titles put them on a class of their own. (Man U have amassed many a Premiership crown, but their single European triumph is way behind the Reds' achievements.)
All said, it has been quite baffling to many that Liverpool hasn't picked up a league crown in the past seventeen seasons. I'll unravel the mystery for all & sundry: Liverpool is a classic Cup side (as their recent Champions League exploits no doubt testify.)
The league is a different kettle of fish altogether. Any team with hopes of winning the league must possess one key attribute consistency. And over the past few seasons, Liverpool has lacked the consistency needed to mount a serious title challenge.
Pundits have attributed Liverpool's failure to capture the league crown to the fact that over the years, the Reds haven't had a clinical striker to bag them all the goals they need. I don't think that was ever been the problem. (After all, hasn't Gerrard been bagging almost 20 goals a season?) Even with the arrival of El Nino (Fernando Torres,) I don't see any change in Liverpool's luck as far as winning the title is concerned (unless they improve in the consistency department.)
To me, the real problem lies in the fact that Liverpool can't be as consistent away from home as they are at Anfield. Draws & defeats at teams you would put your mortgage on them beating have been the contributing factor to their failure to capture a league crown for a remarkably long period.
If Rafa and the Reds can get their act together & choke up 12 or so away wins, they'll certainly be in with a shout come May. (Lets face it, their home form can't be faulted. It is imperious, to say the least.)
I've noted with keen interest that Rafa seems to lean more towards the Champions League than the Premiership. In the recent home game against Pompey, Rafa rested several of his top stars (with an eye on a midweek Champion's League game) & came up short. The Reds dropped two vital points.
If Liverpool is going to drop games every weekend preceding a Champions League tie, they will find themselves in a spot of bother when the business end of the season arrives.
Liverpool is a good side with an attractive brand of football (too bad Abramovich can't buy his way in.) Player for player, Liverpool has as good a squad as Man U, Arsenal & Chelsea. If the Reds can somehow improve away from home & stop being too cautious every time they're about to play a Champions League game, I see no reason why they shouldn't bag their first Premiership crown at season's end.
If not, it will be another frustrating season for players & fans alike. They'll once again be left playing third or fourth fiddle to the rest of the "big four." All the best to Rafa & his troops.