Seven games in and it’s already been a funny old season at Anfield.
Three games in, two wins and a draw away to Arsenal and spirits were high on Merseyside.
A 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham and an uninspiring 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Norwich and suddenly the club were in a crisis.
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It appeared it was only a matter of time before manager Brendan Rodgers got the sack but he remained in charge for the weekend’s match against Aston Villa – a team Liverpool hadn’t beaten at home since 2010.
But a nervy 3-2 win may well have helped the club, and their manager, turn a corner. Suddenly Liverpool were up to 8th and only five points from league leader Manchester United, just two points off Arsenal in 4th.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Rodgers and all the bad publicity he’s been receiving in recent weeks. Consider that he sits three points above Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and there has been very little talk about the Portuguese manager losing his job.
It’s understandable that not many Liverpool fans are getting carried away after scraping a narrow victory at home to a poor Villa side. But put the three points aside and there are plenty of reasons why Liverpool can achieve their ultimate goal of qualifying for the Champions League this year.
Saturday saw Daniel Sturridge score his first Premier League goals since last March and the quality of them had the Kop drooling. Very rarely, when discussing Liverpool’s failures last season was Sturridge’s injury mentioned.
If you think of all the fantastic strikers the Reds have had in the past: Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez many people, without thinking, would put Sturridge at the bottom of the list.
But after his two goals at the weekend, his goal-scoring record in the Premier League is now better than all of those players. A remarkable statistic.
Since joining the club, Sturridge now has 37 goals in 57 Premier League appearances and to think; how often has he been fully fit? He certainly isn’t fully fit at the moment but if he can produce those two pieces of magic like he did on Saturday, imagine when he’s ‘back to his best.’ A scary thought for defenders but one to excite the Liverpool fans.
Also, we haven’t had the opportunity to see the partnership of Sturridge and summer signing Christian Benteke – a duo that could work perfectly. But Brendan Rodgers might have a selection headache when Benteke does return thanks to the recent form of another summer signing – Danny Ings.
His work-rate and quality has meant that Ings is already becoming a bit of a fan favourite on Merseyside and in Sturridge, Benteke and Ings the club has three strikers capable of scoring plenty of goals.
Roberto Firmino has also been struggling with an injury recently and has only been able to show glimpses of his undoubted ability. Firmino and his compatriot Philippe Coutinho are yet to start a match together and Liverpool will be a force to be reckoned with when they’re both on form.
In previous Premier League seasons, you could probably write Liverpool off from achieving a top four finish but not this year. This campaign is different with the top teams struggling and the lower teams getting better.
The league is so tight that a couple of good results can propel you right towards the top of the table. If you look at Liverpool under Rodgers, they often go on good unbeaten streaks.
In the Northern Irishman’s first season in charge, Liverpool went on an eight-match unbeaten streak while the following season they were unbeaten for 16 matches as they came so close to winning the league. Last season, despite finishing sixth, they went on a 13 match unbeaten run before losing to Manchester United at home which ultimately finished off their season.
So it’s possible for Rodgers’ Liverpool to put a little run together and, in this season, that would see them be right in the mix for qualifying for Champions League football. There’s still a long way to go and there’s no reason why Liverpool can’t be in the top four by May.