It’s been 5 years now since Liverpool last finished in the top 4, and they have had a string of mid-table finishes since. It’s been proclaimed by the Anfield faithful many a time that they’ll eventually get back to winning ways, and this season might just be the one. With managerial changes in the top clubs in the league, as well as the lack of European competition this season, the window of opportunity is there for Liverpool to finish in the top 4.
First off, the club has got off to a fantastic start to the season, winning 3 games out of 3 and keeping 3 clean sheets. Fending off Manchester United just before the international break. They’re now sitting pretty at the top of the table and look primed to continue this vein of form with much weaker opposition in the weeks to come (Swansea (A), Southampton (H), Sunderland (A), Crystal Palace (H), Newcastle (A), West Brom (H)). Which means by 3rd November when they face Arsenal at the Emirates, the could realistically still be top of the table and brimming with confidence.
That brings me to my second point, confidence. The way Liverpool have started the season is indicative of a side full of confidence, not only in their own ability, but that of their teammates and the manager. Confidence is key to any successful side, and the club look like they’ve got it in abundance.
Along with the confidence, there is the winning mentality, which has been missing from so many sides prior, that has been ingrained into the minds of the players. Even when performing below par, such as the second halves against Aston Villa and Manchester United, the team keeps their head down and grinds out the victory with hardened defensive displays.
Defence. That’s another reason Liverpool fans should look to the new season with enthusiasm and anticipation. In Agger, Liverpool have one of the best ball-playing centre halves across the globe (hence the interest from Barcelona). Apart from him, there’s also the veteran Kolo Toure, the newcomer Sakho, the rejuvenated Skrtel, as well as bright prospects in the form of Tiago Ilori, Kelly, and Wisdom. A defence like this, with such depth and skill, gives the club a firm spine on which success can be built. The full backs are also more then competent, with Glen Johnson, Enrique, and Cissokho all being as proficient going forward as they are going back. Additionally, in between the sticks lies a hugely impressive Simon Mignolet who is quickly proving himself to be one of the best in the business. 3 games and 3 clean sheets later, Liverpool’s defensive contingent looks to play a huge role in determining the success or failure of the squad.
However, what ultimately wins games is still goals. Although they haven’t been hugely impressive in the goal department, only winning by a one goal margin each game, Liverpool’s attack is not one to be looked down upon. Sturridge is in red hot form, scoring the match winners in all 3 opening games. Behind him, the attacking trio of Coutinho, Aspas, and Henderson have been hugely impressive, creating chances galore with their attractive brand of football. Waiting in the wings is the world-class Luis Suarez, who would definitely add another dimension to the attack when he returns from his suspension.
Perhaps the weakest sector of the team would be the midfield. The lack of a true destroyer in midfield has been pinpointed as one of the reasons why Liverpool cannot succeed. With that problem still not truly being rectified in the transfer window, an injury to Lucas or Gerrard could potentially destabilise the entire team. But with Allen coming back from injury, along with the flexibility of Henderson, Alberto, and Ilori to play the deeper midfield role as well, there’s still quality in the substitutes which could fill the role in the case of injury.
Thus, I firmly believe that Liverpool do stand a fighting chance in their bid for top 4 based on the outright quality all across the pitch and the various external circumstances. Thanks for reading!