Liverpool squeezed through to the FA Cup fourth round on Monday night – after earning a hard fought 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, courtesy of a Steven Gerrard brace.
But after a disastrous Premier League campaign, the Reds currently sit in eighth place in the table – with just 29 points accumulated from 20 games. Brendan Rodgers’ side were starting to see an uplift in form – with back-to-back league wins over Burnley and Swansea City respectively, but after unforgivingly letting a 2-0 lead slip to bottom-placed Leicester City on New Year’s Day, Liverpool started 2015 in very disappointing style.
It’s been a funny old season at Anfield – considering the Reds’ took Manchester City all the way to the wire last term, and Brendan Rodgers having won the LMA Manager of the Year – their form has been a far cry from those heady days this campaign. Despite losing the irreplaceable Luis Suarez in the summer, not many football fans would have envisioned such a demise this season. Some of Liverpool’s new signings haven’t lived up to their star billing, and Daniel Sturridge’s early season injury hasn’t helped the cause either.
As well as being well off the pace in the Premier League, the Reds were very disappointingly knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage last month. Liverpool would have really fancied their chances of progressing before a ball was kicked – with Real Madrid, FC Basel and little-known Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad – making up the four. But the Reds could only manage one win out of their six Group B games, dropping out with a whimper.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Liverpool fans were dealt yet another huge blow last week, as legendary skipper Steven Gerrard announced he is set to leave the club in the summer and head for America. The shock news will be a bitter pill for the Reds fans to swallow, after the Liverpool number Eight became such a hero at his hometown club in his 16-year Anfield career. Brendan Rodgers now has the arduous task of trying to replace him.
But on a more positive note, the Reds are still in both domestic cup competitions. They saw off the difficult looking challenge of AFC Wimbledon last night – setting up a fourth round home tie with Championship side Bolton Wanderers. Rodgers will fancy his chances against Neil Lennon’s side, and it’s a game the Reds really dare not lose.
The Merseyside club are also going very well in the Capital One Cup this season – wins against Middlesbrough, Swansea City and Bournemouth, have taken Liverpool just two games away from another Wembley final. The Reds, who won the competition in 2012, face Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the semi-final. The first leg is at Anfield on January 20th – with the second leg taking place at Stamford Bridge a week later.
It’s all set to be a very important second half of the season for Brendan Rodgers’ side. After a frustrating four months at Anfield, Liverpool can only look to the domestic cup competitions now – and they will hope that some silverware can save their season.