Are Liverpool Capable of a Top Four Finish?
After a terrific start to the campaign this time round, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side look on course for a top four finish this season, but is this possible? Will the red-hot SAS frontline fire the Reds back into the Champions League? All you can say is, time will tell…
Liverpool has had a great start to the season this year. They currently lye second in the league, two points behind leaders Arsenal and have emerged as a real threat for other teams competing for a top four position come next May. Both Suarez and Sturridge lye joint top of the Golden Boot race with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero also joining the pair with eight goals each. Anfield is full of optimism again, but are the fans celebrating too soon?
Rodgers faced a tough season in his first as Liverpool manager last year. Finishing seventh, below rivals Everton and out of the European spots, many questioned if the Northern Irishman was the right man to lead the Reds back to the top again.
He has quashed many doubters fears since the turn of the year, with Liverpool producing a string of excellent performances and consistency to match. Rodgers brought in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho back in January and both players have been a revelation. He has managed to transform both of these player’s faltering careers and prove they are types of players who have appetite to play the very highest level of the game.
When Sturridge and Coutinho came to Liverpool, neither was getting much of a game at their previous respected clubs. Sturridge often got asked to play out of position on the wing at Chelsea, even after proving himself on a loan spell with Bolton Wanderers.
Coutinho was much the same whilst he was playing for Inter Milan. Many of the Inter fans had been calling for the little Brazilian to be playing in the first eleven for some time. Rodgers took advantage of the situation and has made an excellent acquisition in the talented young man.
The Anfield manager has since gone on to replace retired veteran defender Jamie Carragher with the experienced Kolo Toure. Toure has been fantastic since he joined the Merseyside club and has reinvigorated himself at Liverpool after an unflattering couple of years in Manchester.
The introduction of Simon Mignolet has turned out to be an astute signing so far for Rodgers. He has replaced the much loved Pepe Reina who has joined Napoli on a season long loan, after the Spanish international had been supposedly courted by Barcelona last season.
A marquee signing of the summer was definitely the purchase of Mamadou Sakho from PSG for £18million. The French international defender has had a mixed start to his first season with the Reds. The defender has shown he has speed and strength in abundance, however sometimes he looks as if he lacks the tactical nous to make it as a real top central defender.
Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Aly Cissokho and Victor Moses have also been brought into the club to help strengthen the squad. This has helped the Liverpool team become a much more fearful opposition on paper, with so many more possibilities in attack.
Luis Suarez has come back into the team following his ban and looks a rejuvenated person. His on-field dramatics have been kept to a minimum so far, and currently the Uruguayan looks to have matured into a man really enjoying his football.
Suarez is key to this team, as he would be any other team in the world. Him and Sturridge will take much of the brunt of the pressure for the push for top four, but it will be much more down to the team ethic Rodgers hopes to have applied to his squad.
Rodgers’ switch to four at the back against Fulham at the weekend seemed to sure up the defensive line, gaining another clean sheet to bring the tally up to four in the league this season. This switch needed to happen after Arsenal dominated Liverpool the previous weekend, causing havoc for the three defenders at the back and losing Steven Gerrard and Lucas in the middle of the park.
If Liverpool keep up the momentum and have the ability to beat the better teams in the league, then surely they can have a real charge at top four. Rodgers will also have to look to invest in one or two signings in the January window to help ease the pressure of the midfield pairing of Lucas and Gerrard if the Reds are to be successful this season.
It isn’t going to be easy. The top of the league is clustered with top footballing sides. Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and both Manchester clubs will all be looking to stake a claim at the top. Liverpool currently have the edge over a few of the others after having such a good start to the season, but it s yet to be seen if the Anfield club can sustain such performances.
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