Liverpool FC closed out the 2012-2013 English Premier League season in seventh place. They earned 61 points. Rival Manchester United finished with 89 points and as league champions. The gulf between them was 28 points and a superior goal difference.
Flash forward to March of 2014 and Liverpool sit on 62 points with nine games left to play. They have scored more goals than any other team in the EPL and only Manchester City has a better goal difference. Just three goals separate the two sides.
Manchester City is the heir apparent to Manchester United's newly abandoned throne and with three games in hand, they are still heavy favorites to take the league.
No one is surprised by Man City'a present position, but LFC finds itself in a decidedly unexpected position: Genuine title challengers.
Before the fan base gets too carried away, this simply means that they have a chance at this stage.
A title is far from certain.
Many are still banking on City to take it all, or perhaps Chelsea FC. Despite leading the league for much of the season and being level on points with the Reds, Arsenal FC seems to have somehow fallen out of the title race in the minds of many.
One thing is for certain—it's a close race and anything can happen between now and the final whistle on the last day of the season.
What must Liverpool FC do to find themselves league winners on that last day?
First, they must get as many points from their remaining games as possible. Considering Liverpool remains the only undefeated team since 2014 began, the odds are in their favor to extend this run late into the remainder of the season.
— Sean Bradbury (@seanbrad2) March 17, 2014
Should Liverpool manage to win all of their remaining games, they would finish with 89 points. This was a number that was good enough for Manchester United to win the title last year, but this year it might not be the case.
The rest of what the Reds need is frustratingly out of their hands: Other top 4 teams must drop points. Both Chelsea and Manchester City specifically.
The good news is that both teams must come to Anfield in addition to other tough away fixtures. If results go Liverpool's way, it could make the difference between winning the league and coming up just short.
Given where Liverpool was just one year ago, to be in such a position is nothing short of miraculous.
50 yrs ago @LFC won their 1st title under Shankly. In 63/64 we put 5 past Arsenal at Anf, lost in FAC5 at Arsenal & did double over ManU ..
— Brian Durand (@BrianDurand56) March 16, 2014
Image via Liverpool FC, Twitter