Liverpool travelled far and wide this summer trying to reach out to their fans winning six games in a row before finally losing to Celtic.
Although the playing conditions tested the adaptability and resilience of the players, the overall team spirit and the ‘win at all costs’ attitude remains untested.
Their forthcoming trip to Villa Park will be the first real test of this young and dynamic team. The opening day fixture against Stoke was a reminder of a lack of ruthlessness if anything else.
They are still missing something that will allow them to finish off matches fifteen minutes before the final whistle is blown.
If they want to avoid being a mid-table team they can’t afford to have scrappy endings like the one we saw on the opening day.
If it wasn't for a penalty save from debutant keeper Simon Mignolet the Reds would have almost certainly dropped two points.
Aston Villa have a formidable attack with the near perfect composition of pace and precision.
Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor have proved that they can turn matches around even if the opposition has star defenders like Per Mertesacker.
After thrashing Arsenal their confidence is high, and it will be interesting to see how Brendan Rodgers plans to cope with Villa’s attacking prowess.
Kolo Toure had a good day against Stoke and Rodgers will need him to be the leader of the back line. This is where Liverpool have the upper hand.
They have always managed to find good leaders in the defence. Be it Sami Hyypia, Jamie Carragher or Kolo Toure, they all have the capability to rally their troops .
The centre-back in English football is somewhat like a master chef of a restaurant; he shouting orders to ensure everybody is doing their job. Toure, with his experience and dominating stature has all the right qualifications.
The young Sebastian Coates is injured and may be out for the season. This is worrying because should Villa resort to dirty football and someone gets injured, Liverpool have no one to turn to.
Martin Kelly is heavily inexperienced and Martin Skrtel has been out of form for quite some time now.
Sorting out the two Martins is already a big part of Rodgers agenda. If Suarez stays, the defensive conundrum might even be the final piece of the puzzle.
This forthcoming fixture will either prophecise Liverpool’s impending glory or summarise prior embarrassments.
Whatever the case, it will be an interesting evening for fans and players alike. Rodgers can choose to go all out attack or counter-attack, but he cannot choose to be complacent.
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