Liverpool: Season review so far
Examining the positives & the negatives of Liverpool's campaign so far
Liverpool have so far enjoyed a dream run to the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
It might sound odd, since the club is out of the Capital One Cup - possibly the only cup they could have won - but no one can deny that Liverpool have played some really good football.
Surely it is a sign of clear progress.
Liverpool's performance in past seasons has been dismal. But come January 2013, things changed.
The arrival of Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge proved to be the key and Brendan Rodgers had finally got players who delivered instantly.
Let us examine the positives and the negatives so far.
1. Liverpool play excellent football in the first half, but fade down immediately after the break. it is shocking how often that has happened through the course of the matches.
Players become lethargic after the first half and drop down because of their lead. So far, Liverpool have only scored one goal in the second half.
Players like Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique provide some scintillating and effective touches in the first half, but look like second division players in the second half.
Liverpool certainly needs to work on this problem.
2. One of the biggest problems Liverpool fans are facing is that their captain fantastic is playing like a 33-year-old and is just not doing justice to his own name.
Steven Gerrard of course has had some priceless moments in matches - that scintillating pass to Daniel Sturridge to set up Luis Suarez's first goal against Sunderland.
Bar that, the England captain hasn't done wonders. One reason for this is that with Lucas under-performing Gerrard is forced to lie deep. He can't move into the attack as readily as he good.
This could be illustrated with evidence of him attacking far more against Palace with Henderson accompanying him in the centre of the field.
Liverpool faces a major problem with Gerrard not at his best. Perhaps a game or two off will make him get back his flair, with him too not comfortably resting on his laurels. Lampard comes on as a substitute, so does Giggs, perhaps the same could be done for the Liverpool legend.
1. It remains to be seen whether Rodgers will continue with the 3-4-1-2 formation. But for now, it seems to be working well having three centre-backs.
The centre-backs are backed up with two energetic wing backs, which means that when the opposition attacks the defence, the players are not being pulled out of position.
2. Another positive note for Liverpool is Martin Skrtel.
All summer long, he looked surplus to requirements. However, in the new formation with Sakho on his left and Kolo Toure on his right, he looks good and domineering.
But the problem still remains for the Slovakian - when Denmark captain Daniel Agger returns from injury, where does he go?
Who will remain in the starting XI and who will sit out? Personally, I would keep Skrtel because he is performing. Agger too should know that his place in the starting XI is not granted and that he he has to continue proving his ability.
This is good because Liverpool hasn't really had competition in the squad and when a top player has to prove his inclusion, it would give the younger lads the fire to do so themselves.
3. The return of Suarez and the chemistry he has with Daniel Sturridge so far has been the biggest positive for Liverpool.
The Uruguayan publicly stated his desire to leave the Merseyside club in the summer. He wanted Champions League football and no one can blame him. A player of his level deserves it.
However, Rodgers kept him in the side and extra kudos to him for handling the situation extremely well. In Suarez' first match after his ban - the Capital One Cup tie against Manchester United - the striker looked extremely rusty and sure enough, he missed the chances he otherwise would have converted blind-folded.
But in the next game, unfortunately for Sunderland, Suarez scored two amazing goals, both assisted by Sturridge. England witnessed SAS at their best.
The next match against Crystal Palace, both Liverpool's front men were at their best in the first half and their chemistry looked lethal throughout the game. The best part of their partnership is their ability, in terms of technical movement and vision.
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