Sunday’s victory at Bolton was hardly historic. But the fact that Liverpool won despite a sub-standard performance will have pleased the travelling Kop, who had seen just one away win in the whole of 2010.
For the majority of the game it looked as if Liverpool were happy to take a point against a side that are renowned for producing gritty performances. However, a moment of brilliance from Fernando Torres (who was once again subdued) presented Maxi Rodriguez with the chance to seal the three points for the reds. The celebrations in the away end at the final whistle were a mixture of celebration and relief that only a late winner could provide on days like Sunday.
The same can be said for last night’s match with Napoli. After trailing at half time to Ezequiel Lavezzi’s strike, a Steven Gerrard-inspired Liverpool rallied back to win 3-1 and put them in control of Group K in the Europa League. Once again the captain rescued and then steered the ship to victory over the Italian side that were backed by a vociferous support, with some estimates claiming that over 5,000 travelled to Merseyside for the match.
Although off-the-pitch events have been the main issue for some, others were left talking about Gerrard’s heroics and asking the age old question how this Liverpool side will cope when he leaves/retires. But that is a problem for another day as focus now switches onto this Sunday’s home game with the champions Chelsea.
The big dilemma for Roy Hodgson is surely how he should approach this game. Does he send out his side to defend at all costs against Carlo Ancelotti’s free-scoring side? Or does he use home advantage and go out attacking? While many Liverpool fan would love to see the latter approach, it has to be remembered that the reds are unfortunately nowhere near the same level as the blues and they will have to accept that a draw is probably the best outcome.
Now that may seem defeatist but it is worth noting that Chelsea have conceded just 2 goals so far this season and currently sit 5 points clear at the top of the table. So any positive result will be a good platform for Hodgson to build on as he looks to improve Liverpool’s current mid-table position and end the calendar year on a positive run of form.
Hopefully the appointment of Damien Comolli as Director of football strategy will help the manager with his plans to improve the squad in the January transfer window. Clearly, his main aim will be to strengthen a Liverpool side that is lacking in quality right now.
Whether this will happen or not only time will tell as his recent record at Tottenham produced a mixed bag of quality signings such as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, whereas flops such as Adel Taarabt and David Bentley have blighted his record.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.