Liverpool need to step up as Upton Park awaits the Reds
Anyone who remembers, Jim Croce’s – Time in a bottle and especially the first few lines “If I could save time in a bottle, The first thing that I'd like to do, Is to save every day till eternity passes away, Just to spend them with you”. The romance has faded between Liverpool and Suarez, post Suarez, Liverpool have dwelt more on the positives.
Liverpool's season so far
Unlike romance which is poetic in nature, football can be brutal especially in the Premier League as we saw last weekend, when Villa continued their winning streak at Anfield. Its understandable that with the mid-week Champions League coming around to Anfield after a gap of 5 years, Liverpool took their eyes of the ball.
The Premier League though is unrelenting in its nature and with only 4 games played, Liverpool are playing catch-up with league leaders, Chelsea, who have been tearing teams apart. The silver lining though is that Liverpool are only a point away from the top four places. Considering the fact that Liverpool led the table last season 4 games into the season and currently now lie in 8th place, it is not exactly what had the fans had in mind.
Oh!! and remember, Liverpool were still without Suarez, so its not a satisfactory position at all. Focussing on the positives is what Rodgers mantra has been this season and hopefully sooner or later the “positives” will come to life.
Speaking of positives, Balotelli has been hard-working, along with the expected quartet of Sterling, Henderson and the full backs, Manquillo and Moreno. The rest have left a lot to be desired. Lovren looks inconsistent but he is settling in and Gerrard and Lucas have had better games in a Red shirt than the ones they are having currently. The new signings – Lallana and Markovic need to start producing more.
Understandably the pressure has been showing on Rodgers, who nowadays celebrates every goal with quite a bit of emotion. Rodgers knows how tough and pacy the Premier League is and with Champions League football, he has his work cut out.
Looking forward to the Upton Park trip
Injuries have also wreaked havoc in implementing his plans as disruptions have continued. Champions are made of sterner stuff and if Liverpool are to challenge on all fronts, it is necessary that the team starts being clinical. Upton Park has often been a tough place to go to.
Sam Allardyce aka Big Sam generally sets up his team defensively, but this summer he has added flair in the form of Enner Valencia, and if Liverpool’s defense make the same mistakes as the Villa game then Valencia is sure to punish them. Just youtube the Valenica stunner against Hull City and you will be presented with adequate proof.
In recent times, Liverpool have done pretty well against West Ham. Last season, two penalties by Steven Gerrard settled the issue. But this time around Liverpool will have to be more diligent. If my memory serves correct it was a pretty soft penalty as well.
Teams have been defending deep to counter Liverpool’s pace and counter and exploiting them from set-pieces. The need for Rodgers to counter this strategy depends a lot on the defense. The need for communication has been highlighted and Mignolet needs to be more authoritative while Lovren who has been purchased for his leadership skills needs to start showing them.
A late kick-off and favorable results for Liverpool and not so favorable results for the other teams ahead of Liverpool can help them leap frog into the Champions League places as well. That only augurs well for the Reds especially with a cluster of games coming thick and fast.Published 20 Sep 2014, 20:12 IST