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Liverpool are title contenders, say fans

The Merseysiders last lifted a league title in 1990 under the stewardship of Kenny Dalglish, and have never triumphed during the Premier League era.

In that same period, Liverpool have won many of the game's top prizes with perhaps their greatest success coming in 2005 when, under the guidance of Rafael Benitez, the Anfield outfit overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit to defeat Milan on penalties and win the UEFA Champions League.

However, the Premier League has continued to elude Liverpool, with runner-up berths in 2002 and 2009 the closest they have come to breaking that duck and adding to an impressive haul of 18 league titles.

The possibility of that drought ending is becoming an ever-increasing possibility this season, as a 10-match unbeaten league run - including five straight wins - has seen Liverpool climb to second in the table, four points adrift of leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to play down Liverpool's challenge in the past, but captain Steven Gerrard talked up his side's chances of lifting the title following the comprehensive 3-0 win over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

That view is echoed by Gareth Roberts, editor of The Anfield Wrap podcast, who says winning the Premier League would mean "everything" to Liverpool supporters.

"It would mean everything (to win the title)," Roberts told Perform. "It's been 24 years since we last won the league title. We've won everything else in the meantime, we won the European Cup, the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup, the League Cup.

"But I still think Liverpool fans see the title as the bread and butter. We went through long periods of time dominating, winning league title after league title that's the one thing now that's missing.

"It would be brilliant for Liverpool because it would feel like we're back to the days of the 1970s and 80s when we were winning everything."

On whether Liverpool are genuine contenders, he added: "I think we are title challengers. There's only nine games left and I don't think anyone would have predicted that we'll be in the position we are (at the start of the season).

"We have both Manchester City and Chelsea to come to Anfield. We've been brilliant at Anfield this season and it seems we've finally sorted out our away form as well.

"You look at winning at Manchester United and Southampton, two difficult games, so we have to consider ourselves challengers now. It's a fantastic thing to say because it's been a long time for Liverpool fans to be able to say something like that. The last time we were challengers was probably 2009."

If Liverpool fail to win the title, a consolation prize is likely to be qualification for next seasons UEFA Champions League, which would mark a return to Europe's premier club competition for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.

And Roberts says that Liverpool's campaign will be viewed as a success even if they are beaten to the league title.

"There's been many false dawns for Liverpool, it's been 24 years since we last won the title so there's been 24 years of hurt there," he continued.

"I think Rodgers was right to say what he said and right to play it down. We maybe thought we might be able to get closer to the Champions League places, but maybe not quite enough to get over the line.

"So to be second place at this time of the year with only nine games to go, it's absolutely brilliant. I think even if we don't win the title now I think most Liverpool fans would be happy with how the season's gone."