Are Liverpool the luckiest team ever to top the Premier League?

Introducing a new feature on the blog – publishing some of the best articles from other football sites.  The article below is written by Paul who is a fellow EnglandFan and was one of the group that travelled to Paris in March 2008 for the game versus France.  It is taken from his site http://www.aboutaball.com and was written before Liverpool were awarded their dubious injury time penalty on Tuesday night versus Atletico Madrid.

Was he pushed? Courtesy of the News of the World
Was he pushed? Courtesy of the News of the World

A quarter of the season has now gone and Liverpool are sitting pretty at the top of the table, three points clear of the chasing pack. Their lofty position has aroused hopes among success-starved fans that this might finally be the year they launch a serious assault on the Premier League title. Eight wins from ten games certainly seems like championship form, but is the table telling the truth?The fact is, Liverpool haven’t actually been playing that well and most of their wins have come thanks to a large slice of good fortune. Only the late winner away at Sunderland back on the opening day came without the aid of an own-goal, penalty or sending off. The run of luck began the very next game with an Emanuel Pogatetz own goal paving the way for a last gasp win at Anfield against Middlesbrough.

The next victory was a momentous 2-1 win over Manchester United, also at Anfield, but Liverpool did little to create either of the goals, with horrendous mistakes from Ryan Giggs, Wes Brown and Van Der Sar handing it to them on a plate. Nemanja Vidic was also sent off late on. Two weeks later, a derby win against neighbours Everton was secured when a dubious red card for Tim Cahill ruled out the possibility of a late fight-back.

In the following two games, away at Manchester City and at home to Wigan Athletic, Liverpool were on the rack at 2-1 down with 15 minutes remaining when Pablo Zabaleta (City) and Antonio Valencia (Wigan) were dismissed and once again the Reds were able to snatch a last ditch win.

Liverpool also needed a helping hand to find the net in their two most recent victories. The only goal in the 1-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge came courtesy of a horrendous deflection, and they relied on Papa Bouba Diop to commit a bizarre handball offence in the box to gift them a penalty and another 1-0 win versus Portsmouth.

Liverpool’s other results give a good indication as to what happens when they don’t get lucky. 0-0 at home to Stoke, 2-1 against Crewe, 0-0 and 1-0 against Standard Liege and 0-0 against Villa. That certainly isn’t championship form and goal scoring really seems to be a problem in open play against eleven opponents. Despite their current elevated position, Rafael Benitez still has a lot to do if he wants to maintain a title push. However, the worrying thing for their rivals is that playing badly and winning is the mark of a great team so the title race could be as good as over if they start playing well.

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