First up, clearly this is not a topical post.
However, despite Rafa’s so-called rant (nice use of alliteration there by the tabloids) occurring over two years ago, many football fans (which sadly, includes Liverpool supporters) still believe and flaunt the view that it lead to Liverpool throwing away their chance of the 2008-09 title.
As I’m fed up of stating that this was not the case, I’m putting it on here so that people can locate it and see the facts.
Points per game went up only fractionally, but crucially, did not decrease as many people think. The main point of interest is that the goal scoring went through the roof – over an extra half-a-goal per game.
In half of the 18 post-rant games, Liverpool scored three or more goals, including four goal hauls against Manchester United (who finished 1st), Arsenal (4th) and Aston Villa (6th). Although this data only includes league games, it’s also worth mentioning that Liverpool put four past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and scored four against Real Madrid at Anfield, in the Champions League during this period too.
The main difference pre and post rant was the form of Manchester United – 2.11 points per game before, and an amazing 2.60 after. Liverpool played their part in trying to stop United by beating them at Old Trafford in this later period, but the Manchester side racked up 17 wins from their other final 19 games to take the crown. Was this upturn in the form a response to Rafa’s rant? I’m sure Ferguson will have used it as a point for motivation, but it’s hardly the sole factor.
So there we are, hopefully I’ve put that myth to bed once and for all. Rant over.
A further piece looking at how the lead in the league changed hands following the ‘rant’ can be read here. You can follow me on Twitter here. Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.