If you’re of a sentimental disposition, it’s best advised you steer clear of Anfield on May 16th, for when the final whistle blows on Liverpool’s clash with Crystal Palace there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
This game will be the last in which Steven Gerrard dons the colours of his boyhood club in front of the Kop and marks the day legions of Reds supporters must begin contemplating life without their long-serving skipper.
Much has been made of the enormity, nay, the impossibility, of the task Brendan Rodgers faces to replace his LA-bound Whiston wonder, but their recent surge up the Premier League table suggests the Ulsterman needn’t bother trying.
“What should we do when Gerrard leaves?” you ask, Kopites? Why, simply buckle up, place your head in the upright position and wait for the rocket to blast off.
Liverpool currently find themselves hurtling towards a top-four finish – a feat they’re 6/5 to achieve – having gone unbeaten in their last 19 domestic outings.
This imperious streak has lifted Brendan Rodgers’ men to within three points of third-place Arsenal and few would back against them landing a Champions League spot in this form.
Were it not for a flurry of wins in recent weeks, however, the Merseysiders wouldn’t be windmilling a path into the top-four party and it appears more than mere coincidence that this spike in form has coincided with Gerrard’s removal from the first-team picture.
Sidelined by a hamstring injury, the 34-year-old hasn’t featured since the Reds beat Tottenham 3-2 in early February.
Mario Balotelli’s winning goal in this game only occurred after the skipper was substituted and they have prevailed in each of the four fixtures they didn’t require a passport to compete in since.
This string of triumphs includes a removing the Crystal Palace millstone from around their neck (their FA Cup win was their first at Selhurst Park in six attempts) and victory over Premier League champions Manchester City.
While Gerrard featured heavily in the early stages of Liverpool’s undefeated streak, his side weren’t snaring the spoils with such regularity.
Of the 11 matches he was involved in, just six ended in success, with the other five seeing the laurels shared.
This evolution from unpolished point-pinchers to unrelenting win machine was sparked by the absence of Gerrard so expect them to prosper in 2015/16, with a price of 9/1 saying they hoist their maiden Premier League crown next term.