As we enter the closing stages of the Premier League season with few games left to play, Liverpool and Everton currently sit in 6th and 7th positions despite disappointing seasons for both Merseyside clubs. Does this highlight that it has been a poor Premier League season?
Considering last season, where both teams finished 7th and 8th respectively, this season they can both finish one position higher despite both clubs having a season of doom and gloom, with poor runs of form, takeovers (or rumours of takeovers) and injuries to key players.
In Liverpool’s case, the departure of Rafa Benitez and the old owners, mixed with the arrival of Roy Hodgson all contributed to a terrible first half of the league season. With Kenny Dalglish taking over the throne at Anfield once again and the new owners, appearing to say and do all the right things at the club, they are now heading into the right direction.
However, there were no other teams in the league who were able to take advantage of Liverpool’s poor form and cement there place beyond mid-table. I honestly thought Sunderland could do it, under Steve Bruce but since his side got anywhere near the top 5 they’ve capitulated.
In Everton’s case, the poor start to the season did not help their cause plus with another injury jinx causing a problem for David Moyes’ team selections, the Toffees have been dipping in and out of form all season.
It’s not been helped by the media looking for stories at Everton, with chairman Bill Kenwright seeking new owners for the club so they will be able to compete with the likes of Liverpool and the top 5 in the future. This is old news, as Everton have been looking for investment for many years, especially since the Kings Dock stadium project failed back in 2003.
With manager David Moyes in his 9th season in charge and the debt of the club increasing over that period, the media have also been speculating his future of the club and the team that he has built. However, Everton still sit in a good position to finish even higher than last year, although the likes of Bolton Wanderers sit one point below them.
Aston Villa’s decline down the table since the departure of Martin O’Neill has also allowed both Merseyside clubs the potential to have a good finish to a poor season. It has certainly ended their run of 3 years finishing 6th in the Premier League.
It appears that other teams, like Sunderland and Bolton, have not been good enough in order to take over those places outside the top 5. The argument of it being a poor season is starting to become tiresome, yes it has been poor in terms of substantial quality but with the unpredictable results and how competitive the bottom half of the table is, it’s been more enjoyable to watch.
In Liverpool and Everton’s case, it’s time for rebuilding. Both teams are relying on their youth academies which are very strong, whilst Liverpool will be looking to spend in the summer, Everton may be looking to sell to balance the books whilst bring more of their young talent into the first team.
With the top 4 becoming a top 5, now that Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur can compete with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea – teams outside will have to be patient in rebuilding their teams and progressing in order to challenge.
Rather than this season being poor, it’s more of a transition. With the potential of clubs like Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, Leeds United, Cardiff City and Swansea City, to name a few that could be in the top flight next season – it’s going to become even more competitive league.