As another weekend passed the English Premier League threw yet another surprise at us, more speculation and more gossip.
League leaders Chelsea lost their momentum as they fell to Aston Villa, although they lead with 66 points from 30 games. Arsenal secured a 0-1 win at White Hart Lane. The Liverpool and Manchester United showdown at Old Trafford painted a rather dismal picture for the hosts as Liverpool eased away with 3 points with equal number of goals. Manchester City on the other hand are at fourth after a comfortable 0-2 win away at Hull City. With just 27 games played, the Citizens have a clear opportunity of reclaiming the top spot if they win atleast 2 games.
The top four are battling it out shoulder to shoulder in terms of competitiveness and points as well, but this week we shift our focus on Liverpool.
With 62 points from 29 games, it looks like the Merseyside team are back in the race for the title. They have two crucial ties left, one against Manchester City and the other against Chelsea. The lucky factor is that both these ties are at Anfield. Provided Steven Gerrard and his boys continue their form for the rest of the season, the club has a very fair chance of lifting its maiden Premier League trophy.
Like a pat on the back, Liverpool owner John W.Henry has promised a £60 million summer transfer purse if Rodgers brings back European football back at Anfield. This means that the shrewd transfer policy that Rodgers has had to work with will come off and he will be able to secure targeted players. If investments are right and new players play with the same vigour and enthusiasm as Sterling, Suarez, Sturridge and the others, Liverpool will become a dominant force in Europe once again.
The owners at Liverpool are very happy with the progress and Brendan Rodgers is supposed to be handed a new 3year contract before the end of the season. It is a firm belief of most Kopites that Rodgers should be kept as manager for a few seasons more.
Having an idea about the kind of go getter Brendan Rodgers is, it is expected that the manager will keep a tight leash on the team and prevent them from losing concentration for the rest of the current season. Considering the position Liverpool have kept themselves in, losing sight of the finish line will be a disappointing thing to do. After all a league victory never goes unnoticed. As football pundits say, “It’s not over until it’s over.”
Their latest game at Old Trafford was almost like a walk in the park. Three penalty opportunities came Liverpool’s way, two of them were successfully converted while the third flew past. It is never easy taking penalties at away games. Steven Gerrard, Captain Fantastic at Liverpool, converted two from the spot but missed out on the third. The third goal came off Luis Suarez, the man of the moment, as he netted a Daniel Sturridge assist.
We all are aware of the scintillating form Liverpool have shown this season, but the point to be noted here is that they have held that form. We cannot expect them to win every game and yes, they have lost a few of those which were rather should have been victories. But they have won enough to be at the second place in the league table with just a 4 point difference from the leaders. With 9 games still remaining, Liverpool can utilize this momentum.
Liverpool have two crucial games against Man City and Chelsea at Anfield, but we should also notice the games against the remaining seven teams. Cardiff, Sunderland, Hotspurs, West Ham, Norwich, Crystal Palace and Newcastle are those seven teams.
Liverpool have defeated all the six teams other than Newcastle with a goal difference of atleast two goals. At Newcastle they were held to a 2-2 draw. That will be a point of concern for Brendan Rodgers, although this time they host Newcastle. No one will underestimate the significance of home advantage especially at Anfield where chants of ‘You Will Never Walk Alone’ are as frequent as the passes made on the field.
Coming back to Man City and Chelsea, if Brendan Rodgers can secure atleast draws from both these fixtures, Liverpool will be on concrete ground. This would mean atleast 21 points coming from 9 undefeated games and by no means is that a weak score, even in the EPL. The attention in these two games will be on the defence besides the attack. Liverpool’s defence has been a weakness and requires significant improvement.
Liverpool will also depend on the fixtures and match results from the rest of the top four besides their own performance.
It has been a season of great expectations for the Kopites. With a position at Europe nearly secure, the focus will be on the PL title. Brendan Rodgers has been the man for Liverpool.