That'd be second then...
No, being serious now, I mean the fact that they have finally clambered up the ladder to separate themselves from Chelsea and have a higher goal difference (even than United)
Goal difference has always intrigued me for it psychological value - despite the fact it's usually only useful at the bottom of the table, but when Liverpool were sat just a few weeks ago with an inferior goal diff to the mighty United, all hope was lost, but now they have made up about 10 it has given the Reds a massive boost
It's that potential, that IF United can just draw two games - Liverpool would have the upper hand by virtue of their goal difference - when you are facing an enemy higher up and with a better GD it seems like an insurmountable lead, but when you have more goals - they are reachable simply because you can be ahead if you draw level
That reminds me, I am not in agreement with McNulty, no not that McNulty - this one
Poor Phil, is as always leaping to conclusions - he may well be right, but unfortunately he is always bound to be right because he changes his mind every two weeks - unlike Hansen and Shearer who are rather comically pinned to predictions of Chelsea for the league, and Lawro who rather strangely said Stoke would be rock bottom (and yet he remains employed - is he just there so we can laugh at him?)
Yes Liverpool are now contenders - they need United to drop 4 points off 9 games, and there are definitely games where that'll happen, but Liverpool must keep up their form against teams who won't come at them, which is their major weakness
For some reason when United were on their latest winning streak nobody could foresee their downfall - any idiot could tell you that United weren't good enough to broach 90 points across a whole season - they were better last year and couldn't do it, they had to slip up somewhere and what I refer to as the 'holy trinity' of games (Liverpool, Fulham away, and Villa) was the perfect time to do it. Two of the best away sides and one of the most solid home sides against a team due a defeat, it was almost scripted (and this is why I put a tenner on Fulham to win at 7/1)
You may think I was being overly statistical, but football almost always sticks to form - United were due, and teams that are due almost always get their reward, it doesn't matter if United should beat Fulham - injuries, on-pitch incidents and referee errors always balance the universe out in the end - just because United had gone on a massive run doesn't mean they're particularly superior to Liverpool or Chelsea, Liverpool were dominating from August to the new year, it stands to reason that United would drop back after their run as well - take a look at the fixtures and you'll see they've been pretty favourable since january (makes sense if you believe Fergie's whinge at the difficult fixture list early in the season) - then they hit the big boys (yes Fulham are big boys...stop laughing)
This doesn't mean anyone is certain to win - United remain 4/11 favourites, while Liverpool have come back to 3/1 to win the title (they were 16/1 barely a week ago - even I didn't have the balls for that) - but it is a close fight, closer than people realise I think
United have the joy of welcoming Arsenal and Villa, as well as the likes of solid Everton - giving them a harder line-up than Liverpool, who have already drawn with Everton enough times this season - they will have to prove themselves against the likes of West Ham and Blackburn - and for them that is probably the biggest test - no more nil-nils, boys
Oh and as for McNulty's comment about Arsenal, who after a few easy games against Blackburn, Sunderland and Newcastle are now cemented in 4th with a three point lead - 'pillock' is all I can say
Villa are fatigued, he's right about that - they need some depth, but so do Arsenal! that's why they are down there and that's why I said they'd struggle this year, they win a few games while Villa play the two best teams in the country and he thinks 3 points is daylight...
Arsenal have still to play all of the big 3 and don't look like beating any of them (only Chelsea are travelling) - Villa may be tired but Arsenal are not walking this one home and those two are going to scrap it out til the end
oh and finally: shut up, Ferguson