With just one defeat in 15 games in all competitions, are we starting to see signs of the Liverpool side that took Manchester City to the wire in last season’s title challenge?
The last time Brendan Rodgers’ side tasted defeat was back in mid-December, when the Reds come unstuck against an ever-improving Manchester United side. Despite the 3-0 scoreline, Liverpool showed glimpses of their former selves, and haven’t really looked backed since. Following that defeat at Old Trafford, Rodgers’ side have won four and drawn two of their last six Premier League games – a run of results that has seen them move up to eighth in the league table – just five points off a Champions League spot.
Despite losing Daniel Sturridge to injury very early on in the campaign, Liverpool have rallied and made do with what they’ve got. After a slow start, winger Lazar Markovic has shown why the club forked out £20m for his services, and Rickie Lambert, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, to name a few, have all stepped up to the plate, which has resulted in Liverpool starting to climb the table.
It has undoubtedly been a tough campaign for the Merseyside club thus far – after losing the influential Luis Suarez in the summer, the Liverpool fans were dealt another huge blow when their popular skipper Steven Gerrard announced he will leave his beloved club at the end of the season, ending an illustrious 17-year playing career at Anfield.
Undeterred by these major setbacks, Liverpool have got on with their business in the best possible way. The only real disappointment they’ve suffered recently was the 2-2 home draw with bottom-placed Leicester City, in a game where Gerrard scored two penalties to put the Reds 2-0 up. The news broke about Gerrard’s shock announcement shortly after that game.
Liverpool hosted Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea earlier this in the first-leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final. After suffering an early setback, when Eden Hazard converted a spot-kick that he won after just 18 minutes, Sterling expertly equalised on the hour. Liverpool were truly outstanding – they had 62% of the ball, 19 shots on goal to Chelsea’s two, and they will feel very frustrated that they are not going to Stamford Bridge in a week’s time with a first-leg lead.
Rodgers’ side will go into the second-leg against the Blues full of optimism, though. In truth, they could have had the tie all but sewn up already. With the title out of their grasp and having been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, Liverpool must look to the domestic cup competitions to rekindle their season. After seeing off Wimbledon in the third round of the FA Cup, the Reds’ host Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round this evening – in a tie that should see them progress in the competition without too many difficulties.
If Liverpool can keep their strong momentum going in the Premier League, and add a trophy at the end of the season, then the Anfield club would have turned what looked like a disastrous campaign into a very successful one.