Liverpool slipped down to fourth place in the Premier League table following a surprise 3-1 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Hull City on Sunday afternoon. Brendan Rodgers’ side – who were missing in-form striker Daniel Sturridge through injury – have now conceded six goals in their last two games and while the second half of December was expected to provide a tough test for the high-flying Merseyside outfit, they have, in fact, started the month with a disappointing loss.
The Reds’ mediocre away form is threatening to derail their season. The Anfield outfit have collected just nine points from a total possible 21 on their travels so far this term and they last tasted an away victory in September. Alarmingly, over 80% of the goals Liverpool have conceded in the top-flight this campaign have come away from home. Indeed, only struggling Norwich City, Stoke and Sunderland have shipped more than the 13 goals Rodgers’ men have leaked on their travels.
That Sturridge is expected to be out of action for up to two months will concern supporters, but a brief look at the fixture list and Liverpool’s upcoming away games will cause even more worry. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Chelsea will host the Reds within the space of just two weeks and the Merseysiders will have to improve their form away from Anfield considerably if they are to provide a genuine challenge for the Premier League title.
Liverpool’s team-sheet for the game against Hull suggested that Rodgers was managing his squad ahead of the task of playing three league games within the space of a week. Raheem Sterling and Victor Moses replaced Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, while the former Swansea boss also handed a start to Kolo Toure – who partnered Martin Skrtel in the heart of the defence. Vice-captain Daniel Agger is likely to return to the side in midweek when the Reds host Norwich and both Sterling and Moses will be fortunate to retain their places.
Of course, it is not defeat but how a team reacts to it which is of great significance in football and Liverpool do have the chance to get over the disastrous Hull result by collecting victories against Norwich and West Ham United in the next few days. The Reds’ home form is impressive – they have picked up 15 points from a possible 18 on their own turf – and fans will be hopeful that their side can continue to collect good results at Anfield.
Despite the defeat at the weekend, all is not lost for Liverpool and there is still a chance for Rodgers’ side to climb up the table and put some pressure on league leaders Arsenal. The Reds are eight points better off than they were at the same stage last season and two positive results over coming days would boost confidence on Merseyside once again.
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