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Off to Anfield for Liverpool's final EPL showdown with Newcastle

Published on May 9, 2014 1:38 PM

The Straits Times' Assistant Sports Editor Chia Han Keong will be in Liverpool watching the final-day action at Anfield where the Reds take on Newcastle, knowing that only a win - coupled by a Manchester City defeat - would make them English league champions for the first time in 24 years. Here's a diary of his trip.

May 9: Roller-coaster of emotions... and that's before I leave Singapore!

Never has a work trip wrung so many different emotions from me.

When I first found out two months ago that I would be covering the final match of the EPL season of my favourite club Liverpool, I was not all that excited, to be honest.

Don't get me wrong, I was still pleased to visit Anfield and enjoy the unsurpassable match-day atmosphere. But this would not be my first trip to Anfield; I made my maiden journey back in 2012. So the thrill of the unknown is gone.

Second, and perhaps more crucially, the Reds were lying fifth or sixth in the league back then. Yes, they were doing better than last season, but they were not exactly chasing that elusive EPL title yet.

Then something magical happened: an 11-match winning run by Steven Gerrard and Co. Suddenly, Liverpool were within shouting distance of landing their first league title in 24 years, in a title race that could go all the way down to the final day.

And suddenly, I couldn't wait for May 11 to come. Could I actually be among the Anfield crowd witnessing this momentous, monumental occasion? Could I actually be seeing Gerrard holding aloft the EPL trophy, and the fans raising the roof and celebrating the awakening of the sleeping giants of English football?

Wishful thinking, as it turned out.

In a space of two short weeks, that dream was virtually shattered, as the young and inexperienced Liverpool team fumbled in the final straight of the title race, first losing 0-2 to Chelsea, then watching a 3-0 lead disintegrate within 11 minutes against Crystal Palace.

So now, even if they beat Newcastle in that final match, it would not matter if Manchester City do not lose to West Ham.

But it means that the match would be less of a nail-biter than a celebration of what the Reds have achieved this season; I won't have to be anxiously checking the scores on my mobile phone during the match.

Yes, losing the title race still stings, but disappointments are part and parcel of supporting a football club.

On Sunday, I'll still be cheering loudly and proudly for the Reds. There is always another season to look forward to.

Now excuse me while I go practise singing You'll Never Walk Alone.