Brendan Rodgers has done an incredible job this season, turning Liverpool into a side that currently sit in fourth position in the Barclays Premier League.
He has also cultivated a striking partnership that looks like one of the best in the world. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have scored 33 goals between them this season, and the pair look to be very comfortable with each other’s playing style.
However, doubts continue to persist over the quality of a squad that looks very frail at times, even with the likes of Suarez and Sturridge in the side. This was illustrated in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, a game which Liverpool would have lost if not for Suarez and Sturridge.
Whilst Rodgers has coped so far with a number of injuries to key players, the challenge will be whether he can maintain a top four challenge in the second half of one of the most competitive Premier League seasons in recent times.
Yes, Liverpool sit in fourth place, but just outside the top four are Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Many pundits now expect a previously ailing United side to improve in the second half of the season, as manager David Moyes’ Everton sides did in previous seasons.
Their challenge will now only be strengthened by the £37m signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea.
Additionally, Everton are proving to be very consistent with Roberto Martinez in charge, and with 43 points, they are level with their cross-town rivals.
Just one point behind are Tim Sherwood’s Tottenham, and although they underperformed under previous manager Andre Villas-Boas, they look to be a far more consistent side under Sherwood.
They also boast a wealth of talented players that are now starting to gel.
All in all, it is clear that Rodgers faces an immense challenge if he is to finish within the Champions League qualifying places. The consequences of failing to reach those hallowed positions are potentially huge.
Luis Suarez recently signed a new, improved contract and there were immediately rumours that it included an exit clause that would be triggered if the side failed to reach the Champions League.
Indeed, it is notoriously difficult to attract top class players when a club is not in the Champions League, and if Liverpool were to lose Suarez, they would be in serious trouble.
It is therefore crucial that Rodgers’ side finish fourth or better, but they will need to fend off a number of improving sides if they are to do so.
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