With Manchester City’s shock defeat to Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace on Monday, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are now occupying the fourth place spot in the Premier League and are just seven points above fifth placed Liverpool. At this stage of the season, it looks like Liverpool’s top four dreams are all but gone, and it’s no real surprise.
To put it simply, Liverpool have not recovered from last season. It was their best chance in recent years of securing the Premier League title, but a cataclysmic collapse in the last few weeks of the season saw them eventually lose out to Manchester City. Who can forget the 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park after being 3-0 up, resulting in Luis Suarez walking off in tears?
Losing their prolific Uruguayan has not helped either. As a direct result of losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool have massively missed his goals. Mario Balotelli has not been the ideal replacement for Suarez, with just one goal in the Premier League so far. He is a shadow of the player he once was, and is not living up to his price tag. Daniel Sturridge has unfortunately picked up injuries this season, and even spent time in Boston as part of his rehabilitation.
This season is has seemed the media have been even more focussed on Liverpool than ever before. The ongoing contract situation with Raheem Sterling has been making headlines for months, with the 20-year-old being linked here, there and everywhere. His interview with the BBC has in no way helped the situation either and, no doubt, it wouldn’t have gone down well with his manager Brendan Rodgers.
Having secured Champions League football last season, their bulkier schedule certainly took its toll on the side. Their time in the Champions League was brief and they ended up slipping in to the Europa League, which ended up being even briefer. On top of this, they are still in the FA Cup. It is hard to adjust to a far busier schedule than they are used to, which included travelling in Europe.
Missing out on the top four will be a big blow to Liverpool, who worked so hard to finish second in the Premier League last season. But they do need to get their act together. Sort out their contracts and decide who to keep and who to get rid of, and they need to start getting more out of Mario Balotelli or they need to sell him on.
Most importantly, they need to get their hearts back in the game, and keep out of the media spotlight.