For a team who are looking to re-establish their former glory days, Liverpool have been doing a pretty good job so far this season of accomplishing the opposite and putting paid to their chances of a top four finish. Despite more than decent performances, especially at Anfield, the Merseysiders have dropped 6 points from winning positions so far at home this season, in games they really should have won. Add those dropped points to their current tally and they would be sitting in the top four comfortably with 21 points, one more than second placed Man United.
With the top three teams head and shoulders above the rest not only in terms of quality but also financially, Liverpool are not realistically challenging for the title, but have more than enough quality to be finishing in the top four and reclaiming what they feel is their rightful place in the Champions League. With Newcastle going strong, still unbeaten this season under Alan Pardew, and Arsenal up to 7th in the table now with Robin van Persie personally making it his mission to get them into the top four, and Spurs as strong as ever, Liverpool cannot afford to drop anymore points from games they realistically should be winning.
For a team boasting a £56 million strike force, and one of the greatest talents in the league in Luis Suarez, just how are they letting chances in front of goal pass them by? On the weekend against Norwich – a game that any team who expect to finish in the top half of the table, let alone the top four, should win – Liverpool were yet again a goal to the good, courtesy of Craig Bellamy, but succumbed to a late equaliser and dropped more points they really shouldn’t have. It is not only the fact that they can occasionally be sloppy at the back that is the issue, but the downright lack of clinicalness in front of goal that is punishing them, and may well cost them a place amongst Europe’s elite come the end of the season.
In Andy Carroll, Suarez and Bellamy, you cannot accuse the scousers of lacking in class up top, not to mention a certain Stevie Gerrard in midfield who has been known to pop up with a goal or two in his time, yet they are still unable to finish teams off and really look secure at 1-0 to the good.
Of course they could point to sheer bad luck, with 29 attempts on goal, the Norwich keeper Ruddy in sublime form, and hitting the woodwork no less than 3 times, and if this was an isolated incident, that would probably wash as an excuse, but the fact remains this keeps happening for Liverpool, and is something that has to be eradicated from their matches before more damage is done.
The amount of money paid for their strikers does not guarantee you goals – former Liverpool hero and £50 million man Fernando Torres can attest to this, but Liverpool’s forwards simply have to start taking the chances offered to them. Saying you have played well but dropped points is something that is becoming an all too familiar story for Liverpool fans and as manager Kenny Dalglish rightly says is something they cannot fall into the trap of doing anymore – otherwise they can kiss a top four finish goodbye.