Or if they don’t is it classed as bottling it? Is where they are now a case of one of two categories - success or failure?
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They had leads at least as big last season, but never quite as overwhelming. To be so far ahead at Christmas can be a poisoned chalice, with each celebratory sip bringing immense pressure, fixture congestion and the challenge of managing different competitions; every possible slip is pronounced and emphasised. This advantage as early as October means a couple of poor results could be absorbed before any lasting damage is done. Momentum is key.
Pep Guardiola knows it. “It’s a bit like a recipe," he told Marti Pernarau in 2014’s Pep Confidential. “League titles are won in the final eight games, but they are lost in the first eight games." With the gap between first and second as big in terms of points as the gap between second and 16th, you can see why.
Liverpool have dropped 17 points in their last 47 Premier League games. To lose their grip on the title from here, they will have to drop at least eight from their next 30 – and that is based on the theory that Manchester City will win each of their remaining matches from now until May.
There was no Anfield bottling last season; winning your last nine games does not suggest a lack of nerve or character. But winning your first eight sets you up for either a stratospheric rise or an almighty and embarrassing fall. Either option is fun
If they don’t win this season I won’t go as far as saying they won’t win in the future as that’s mental but surely if they don’t win this season it’s something they’ll look back on as a huge fack up.
Do Liverpool have to win the PL ...