Both Everton and Liverpool have enjoyed promising starts this season and look well set to challenge for the top four come may, and this week really offered us the chance to see their credentials first hand.
Of course you can always pay too much attention to a single game and result, but Tuesday night wasn’t just about the outcome but more the performance. Everton played well at times, but still ended up on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing, powerless to oppose what is shaping up to be one of the most intimidating forward lines in the country.
Tuesday showed just how far Everton have been batting above themselves this season, and possibly highlighted how much more Liverpool are able to give over the course of a season. Martinez’ start and change in footballing philosophy has been admirable, and to discount them totally at this stage would be wrong; but clearly they have a lot of work to do if they are going to be able to match a side of Liverpool’s calibre.
So what now for Liverpool? As fans wake up today they would have been dreaming of a title charge and a return to the top table of European football.
Brendan Rodgers has kept himself grounded from the inflated expectations, and pointed towards the need to improve. He spoke of transfer window frustration and the need to reinforce after the derby:
“I think we will hopefully do something over the next couple of days,” he said.
“Hopefully we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games.”
Given the manner of their derby day win, would Rodgers surely not be wasting the clubs money with a late transfer window purchase?
If Liverpool do genuinely have ambitions to win the league this season then they are clearly short on quality, but even so a single major purchase is unlikely to set them on course to challenge the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and City. The aim has to be Champions League qualification, and as it stands they are very much on course for this.
The other argument is that deal now would give them the advantage over their close rivals, but for me it works both ways. Liverpool are beginning to find a degree of balance and this continuity is crucial for the run in. At the moment you would be a fool to try to break up the attacking quarter that has looked so deadly in recent weeks. Signing someone else doesn’t guarantee anything for Liverpool, and if anything it could be detrimental.
January deals are generally reactionary and lacking in planning, for a club like Liverpool that are very much looking at a long term plan this would seem ill advised. Liverpool shouldn’t be resting on their laurels, but in terms of progress year to year another couple of deals in the summer would seem more prudent.
I think Rodgers is trying to ensure complacency isn’t an issue, and to ensure that John W. Henry and co are continuing to show financial faith in his project. The Reds have the team to take 4th place already, and are already showing themselves to be the frontrunners for the prize.
With little on offer for the Reds in the market, and a team already starting to fire as it is, maybe Rodgers’ call to spend is a little misplaced.