Lively Liverpool’s impressive 3-2 victory over Andre Villas-Boas’ high-flying Tottenham Hotspur side will have given the flourishing Reds a huge psychological boost as they enter the final nine games of what has been a topsy-turvy season so far. It was the first time this term that the Anfield outfit had managed to overcome a top-six Premier League side and in doing so, Brendan Rodgers’ men climbed into sixth place themselves – the highest position that the Merseysiders have occupied in over 13 months.
It was hardly Liverpool’s greatest display of the season, indeed the Reds have arguably put in better performances in other games against top sides such as title-chasing Manchester City and Manchester United. But what matters most is that they collected all three valuable points this time and eight additional points from the remaining fixtures would allow them to beat their tally from the last campaign under Kenny Dalglish.
A quick look at the fixture list suggests that Liverpool may be able to achieve that and more, given that three of their next four matches are against relegation-threatened sides Southampton, Aston Villa and Reading. While it would be too early to suggest that the Reds will win those games – after all Liverpool have been inconsistent this season and even lost to Villa back in December – Rodgers will have much hope that his team can push on and compete for fifth place.
Encouragingly, the manager is showing signs that he is learning. On the hour mark against Spurs, he replaced the fading Brazilian attacking-midfielder Coutinho with a much-needed additional man in midfield in the form of summer signing Joe Allen. That substitution was made while the hosts were 2-1 down. It gave Liverpool more balance in the middle of the park and the Reds went on to win 3-2. This is in contrast to previous games, where some supporters have argued that Rodgers made the wrong changes at the wrong times. The Europa League clash against Zenit St Petersburg at Anfield is an example.
Things are finally starting to look brighter for the Reds on the whole. January signings Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho have settled in well, while Liverpool are currently on a four-match winning streak. In addition to this, only league leaders Manchester United have found the net on more occasions in the Premier League than the Anfield outfit this season. Fans are being entertained and although there are some doubts about the Reds’ defensive displays, there is a sense that Liverpool are finally playing with the confidence which could see them end the season above Arsenal and Everton. Such a finish would be a good return in Rodgers’ first season at the club.
See what the expert tipsters are tipping on OLBG