Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top six all but faded away as the Reds could only hold bitter local rivals Everton to a dreary 0-0 draw on Sunday afternoon.
The Anfield outfit went into the clash knowing that a win would put them just two points behind David Moyes’ men with only two games to go, but the weekend’s result meant that Liverpool would have to win their remaining games and hope for Everton to slip up twice in order to finish as the best team in Merseyside. It is not impossible, but it now looks improbable. Brendan Rodgers and his side only have themselves to blame.
Yet Liverpool’s recent run and indeed their form this season can be seen in two ways. There are those with the ‘glass half full’ mind-set, who will point to four clean sheets in their previous five games as a sign of some progress. They will also claim that the Reds – who have scored 67 league goals this season – are a more entertaining side to watch. Liverpool have already beaten their tally of points from the last campaign, leading to claims from some that there has been an improvement under the guidance of Rodgers.
However, there are also supporters who fail to understand the hype surrounding the former Swansea manager. Yes, Liverpool have scored more goals and gained more points this term, but how many trophies have they managed to win, ask these fans? How many cup finals have the Reds reached? How many victories have they claimed over the top six sides? Have the Anfield side really improved?
Is an eighth-place league finish, a trophy and another cup final a bigger achievement than a seventh-place finish, no trophy and no cup finals? The reply to that question will be different from supporter to supporter. That there is even an argument over the matter suggests that Liverpool have not been entirely convincing in this campaign.
One frustrating aspect has been the inconsistency shown by the team this term. Another has been the Reds’ inability to win games at crucial moments in the season. A win this weekend, for example, would have given Liverpool a big psychological boost as they aimed to pip Everton to sixth spot. There have been previous occasions where three points would have allowed Rodgers’ side to keep up the pressure on the pack chasing that fourth and final Champions League place. Liverpool spurned those opportunities.
With little left to play for, this is perhaps a time for Rodgers to experiment with his side with next season in mind. The manager will undoubtedly want to bring in some more of his own players to freshen up the squad, meaning that some of the players who are currently on Liverpool’s books may have to leave. The next couple of weeks will give the Reds’ boss a final chance to decide which players have a future at the club.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Chelsea