So, again Liverpool have secured a result against a “top” side with more than decent performance to keep them in the title race, well the race for fourth spot anyway.
Having said that, I’m still not getting carried away by the result. Yes they played well, and yes they showed glimpses of the improvements they’ve made since the start of Kenny Dalglish’s second stint as manager.
However, the table as it stands shows that Liverpool still have to get a good run of form going. By a good run of form, I don’t simply mean going unbeaten for a few games like they have done, but more about stringing six or seven wins together to really get the momentum going with the team and the fans and announce themselves as serious contenders to the rest of the Premiership.
In fairness, Liverpool have not lost since the 4-0 drubbing at White Hart Lane and this is credit to the team because they have responded well to such a poor result. Call me a hard task-master, but I still don’t feel this is good enough. Dalglish has at times branded the teams perfomrances “unacceptable”, notably against the so-called “lesser” teams such as Norwich and Swansea. Teams who we should really be beating. Yes, they may have drawn against Chelsea, given Manchester United a good game etc etc, but those teams are not Liverpool Football Club and as a supporter for close on 40 years, I expect them to be doing better.
A quick look at the form table shows that Liverpool are poor at home when we consider what is expected of the team. The results I referred to above are perfect examples that performances at Anfield must improve. Most people would agree that Anfield is not the “fortress” it once was. Many visiting teams know that if they play well, make few if any mistakes, and get a couple of shots on target, they’ve got a good chance of coming away with a result. This clearly is not good enough.
Dalglish remains the man for the job in my eyes, without question and he continues to do a superb job. The buys he made since his return have largely performed. Charlie Adam is proving a very capable player alongside Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson, despite the criticism is improving as a player and has time to develop further. Jose Enrique is top class but I’m afraid, Andy Carroll is bottom of the class for me. Like most Liverpool fans, I remain hopeful that he’ll improve but this is more from the heart than the head. Sebastian Coates, we haven’t seen enough of.
It’s still looking as though Liverpool can qualify for Europe next season. The team certainly has the quality and hunger to do it. Just consistency lacks right now. Chelsea and Arsenal remain for me, the only real obstacles. I expect Newcastle to fall away across the remainder of the year. With fifth to seventh places in the Premiership all on 22 points and Newcastle a loss or two away from oblivion, one has to be optimistic. Especially given the frailties of said obstacles.
The next game at home against Manchester City is one which I expect the Reds to do well in, although I think a draw is the most probable outcome if they don’t win. After that, I would expect them to continue the current run of form and improve. The current weakness at home has to improve with the games against QPR and Blackburn.
I’m not a betting man, but I’m thinking about putting a few quid on red!
By Ben Green.
Follow me on Twitter @Mrbengreen