In the hyperbolic world of English football there is always a rush to identify a "must-win" game, but it is no exaggeration to state that Liverpool's entire season rests on Saturday's FA Cup final.
After a campaign beset by controversy, mediocrity and Stewart Downing, only a victory against Chelsea will truly redeem Kenny Dalglish and his multi-million pound under-performers and make this a season worth recording in the vast and storied annals of the club's glorious history.
Now before Early Doors is besieged by shouts of "Carling Cup! Carling Cup!" it would like to make clear it has not forgotten Liverpool's narrow penalty shoot-out victory over a Championship side.
Beating Cardiff was a rare moment of joy for Liverpool but it was all too transient, too fleeting. For a club of Liverpool's stature, the League Cup cannot be the yardstick by which a season is judged. It just doesn't have the kudos any more.
Like Britpop and undercuts, it hasn't really been a relevant concern since the mid 90s.
A League Cup win is but a garnish on a season. It is said by some that a trophy is a trophy, but to paraphrase George Orwell, some trophies are more equal than others.
This is especially true when otherwise a season has been unbearably horrid.
In the Premier League, Liverpool have been utterly dreadful. They have won only five home games all season as Anfield has been served up some absolute filth, including defeats to Wigan, Fulham and West Brom.
They sit just eighth in the table, level with Fulham and only three points ahead of Roy Hodgson's West Brom. Blackburn Rovers have scored four more goals than Liverpool. Gone is the pass and move of Anfield folklore, at times it has been more hit and hope.
Their expensive summer signings have been so poor that in April director of football Damien Comolli lost his job. Heads had to roll.
The aforementioned Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll have all vastly disappointed. Indeed, their failure to live up to their hugely inflated and in retrospect ridiculous transfer fees has provided the most compelling argument against capitalism and the free market since Marx and Engels published their Communist Manifesto.
And this is all without addressing the issue that more than any other has dogged Liverpool's season: racism.
Reds fans may want to forget the Luis Suarez episode, or declare it is now firmly condemned to the past, and ED certainly doesn't dredge it up to score cheap points. But to assess Dalglish and the club's season as a whole and not mention the most contentious issue, and one that has threatened to tarnish his reign, would be a dereliction of duty.
In any other business, ED suspects that had a CEO or high-ranking manager had handled such a sensitive issue so poorly, their next performance review would make for brutal viewing. It was bungled so badly that the club's global reputation was at threat, forcing sponsors Standard Chartered to take the unusual step of publicly voicing their discontent after Suarez refused to shake the hand of Patrice Evra, a man he had racially abused.
While Dalglish was largely indulged by Liverpool supporters during this dreadful episode, as he in turn indulged Suarez until he deemed the striker's behaviour had finally become truly indefensible, it possibly did irreparable harm to his reputation and that of the club.
It has not been an easy return to elite football for the man who treats reporters with the kind of contempt that Mario Balotelli reserves for parking regulations.
However, earlier in the season, ED felt Dalglish was unfairly ridiculed for his opinion, albeit expressed rather clumsily, that a club should not be judged by points alone - that factors such as commercial deals should also be used to assess the health of a football institution.
It is true, but that one line should not be allowed to cloud the fact that no one needs to instruct Dalglish about the value of a trophy to Liverpool. Not a man who won six league titles and two FA Cups as a player, and a further two league titles and another FA Cup during his first spell as a full-time manager at Anfield.
As he said in his press conference on Wednesday: "It's usually the people who aren't in the cup finals who say that [they don't count]. You can argue that, financially, finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League is more beneficial than winning the FA Cup. But when you go to play in the Cup final you don't think about finance."
The Carling Cup was not enough to conceal the otherwise awful nature of Liverpool's season, to turn attention away from poor results and flawed management, but an FA Cup triumph would be. There is no way a season boasting a cup double could be construed as a failure, and so the fate of Liverpool's season, and the tone in which it will be remembered for years to come, rests on events on Saturday.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The work Redknapp has done at Tottenham is perfect. The other one, I don't know." Bastian Schweinsteiger gives the press more ammo when revealing he hasn't heard of Roy Hodgson. The Sun's rather predictable reaction was to splash with "Roy Who?"
FOREIGN VIEW: Big news from Germany where Arjen Robben has signed a new contract that ties him to Bayern Munich until 2015. The news comes at the perfect time for the German club ahead of the Champions League final against Chelsea. "I've always said that I feel great in Munich and with FC Bayern," he said. "Bayern is like a family for me, two of my three children were born in Munich, my family and I feel at home here. Also this contract extension is the right sporting decision for me. We are a great team and I am sure that we will have great sporting success in the coming years."
COMING UP: We have previews of all the weekend's Premier League games, as well as the FA Cup final from Wembley of course, while our live game tonight sees Blackpool and Birmingham contest the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.
We publish the result of our Goal of the Week poll this morning, though to pre-empt likely complaints the poll was created before Papiss Cisse scored THAT goal in midweek. Jim White and Paul Parker also file their latest columns, while we publish the final part of our three-part interview with Gary McAllister.