So here we are, nearly midway through the Premier league calendar for the 2013/14 season. It has already been a season of upsets, triumphs, controversy and as always, top class goals. By now we would normally have a fair idea of who will win the title, whether it is Manchester United, Manchester City or perhaps even Chelsea. However over recent years we have perhaps forgotten about one of the most historic and successful clubs in the world and have downed their chances of success as a whole nation, presuming that their time as a major force in football is up. But now they have struck back on the scene and Liverpool FC is creating more than just a stir in the footballing world…
It has been five long years since Liverpool finished inside the top four, when in the 2008/9 season they finished a second to Manchester United. In this particular season, in their 46th consecutive year in top flight, they will have felt that they could have done better, being at the top of the table to as late as 4th April! Despite this, they were still pipped to the post by United, meaning that they ended in a disappointing second place.
If only then the fans of Liverpool could foresee the future and what was to come over the next five years… four consecutive seasons without a top 4 finishes, winning just one piece of silverware, the League cup in 2012.
Now for any club other than the likes of Liverpool, four top eight league finishes on the bounce with a League cup to celebrate on top of this would be a fantastic achievement. However, for a side that has won no less than 7 FA cups and 5 European cups, this was simply not good enough. Things had to change. Luckily for Liverpool, the 2013/14 season seems to be one of much promise.
Since their 1-0 victory over Stoke City on the opening day of the Premier league, Liverpool have grown from strength to strength. In a season where the London clubs have also show potential title winning performances, Liverpool have clocked up sizable home victories over opposition such as Fulham, Norwich and West Brom as well as a crushing 5-0 away victory over spurs. In fact, Liverpool have suffered just three losses all season, earning them a deserved place at the very top of the Barclays Premier League.
Liverpool have won 11 games, making them joint top of that particular department along with Arsenal and Manchester City. This is largely due to the number of goals that they have been scoring. Louis Suarez is in magnificent form, putting himself in with a great shout of becoming this year’s golden boot winner, tallying 19 goals so far this season (that’s more that what ten other Premier league clubs have managed as a team!). Having a goal scorer like this is massively beneficial to a clubs success but having two strikers in good form is a potential championship winner! Daniel Sturridge has also been in fine form this season, scoring nine goals for Liverpool before his recent injury and playing an important part in England’s penultimate World cup qualifying fixtures.
But behind every attack is a midfield and this is another successful part of Liverpool’s current team. Steven Gerrard has been essential to the team’s success so far this season along with fellow Englishmen Jordan Henderson, the pair cropping up with 10 and 5 assists respectively. Even without the presence of Steven Gerrard in the middle of the park, the midfield has still managed to more than cope, perhaps due to a range of other talent that Liverpool has to offer such as 23 year old Welshmen Joe Allen and tricky young winger Raheem Stirling, who at the age of 19 looks to be an exciting prospect for the future as he is beginning to really establish himself this season.
Goals haven’t been hard to come by this season with Liverpool netting 42 in total, but the defensive side of the game has also been carried out very successfully by the Merseyside club. They have a kept a respectable 5 clean sheets but have more importantly only conceded less than 20 goals (19 to be precise), a feat that has only been achieved by four other clubs. This statistic is very impressive and shows that the team executes the defensive side of the game as well as it does the attack.
Off the pitch there seems to be a revival amongst the Liverpool fans. With younger players on the block as well as the usual ‘older’ players, Liverpool have been playing a new style of football this season, thought largely by many to be down to Brendon Rodgers. The once Northern Ireland international seems to be enjoying life as manager of the historic club. All these positives are meaning that the fans are turning out home and away for Liverpool and mean that the team are backed by the twelfth man that is the supporters. This seems particularly apparent at home, as statistics show that Anfield is one the hardest grounds to visit in the league as an away team, with Liverpool winning 89% of their games at the ground so far this season.
It is clear that Rodgers seems to be getting a foot hold in this highly sort after job at Liverpool. Not only does he seem to be getting the best out of players such as the inform Luis Suarez, he also seems to be tactically sound.
After another eventful day of football, Liverpool are top of the table having scored 36 points. To many (myself included) it is unlikely that Manchester United are going to challenge for the title this year and at this stage in the season, Liverpool main title contenders seem to be Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. The Christmas period is always a vital stage of the season and a much anticipated away fixture at Manchester City has been described as many as one of the biggest matches of the season.
Whichever way that particular match goes, one would imagine that Liverpool are going to be hard to remove from the top four this season. Brendon Rodgers seems to have his players well focused and playing to the best of their abilities. No European commitments means that the team have no distractions from tournaments abroad, meaning that nearly all their efforts will be focused purely on the league, something that there rivals are not able to do this season. Another reason why the signs are certainly looking very good for this new look Liverpool side for the rest of the season.
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