With Manchester City closing in on a second Premier League title in three years despite spending just 15 days at the top of the table, many have claimed that the 2013-14 season will a missed opportunity for Liverpool.
In fact, some pundits - and indeed fans - are claiming that the team will find it hard to go the distance again in the next campaign. However, if Brendan Rodgers and his men want to show that this season is no fluke, then they should look to Benfica’s achievements this term.
This time 12 months ago Jorge Jesus’ side were on the brink of a treble – the league title, the Portuguese cup and Europa League all were within reach. However, eventually they failed to win even a single trophy.
The Eagles lost the Primeira Liga to Porto by just a single point, thanks to a 2-1 away defeat to their arch-rivals in their penultimate game of the season. Three days later Benfica were left heartbroken again when Branislav Ivanovic scored an injury-time goal to win Chelsea the Europa League. To add further misery, they squandered away a 1-0 lead and conceded two late goals to lose the Portuguese Cup final 2-1 to Vitoria de Guimaraes.
However, this season Benfica have bounced back and how! They are on the brink of an historic quadruple. The Portuguese league title and Taca da Liga have already been added to the trophy cabinet, and appearances in the Taca de Portugal (vs. Rio Ave) and the Europa League (vs. Sevilla) finals to follow over the coming days.
It’s a stunning turnaround and a testament to the mental strength of the players and their coach. Jesus’ men have shown that one can bounce back from bitter disappointment if one has the will. Steven Gerrard and his teammates need to follow Benfica’s example next season, if indeed they fail to win the Premier League on Sunday.