Liverpool start gameweek 6 of the Premier League inside the relegation zone and without a win in their opening 5 games under Brendan Rodgers.
The distraction of the Europa League and constant criticism and panic from fans lies over them making it a little tougher for the new manager to get anything going in the Premier League.
The Reds can be forgiven for their tough start to the season. They have already lost at West Brom (3 wins and 3 clean sheets out of 3 at home this season), been held at home by reigning Champions Manchester City (2 defensive mistakes cost Liverpool 3 points), beaten 2-0 at home by an Arsenal side who have started well, drawn at Sunderland (good performance for Liverpool against a side who’ve drawn all 4 of their games) and beaten at home by Manchester United.
Liverpool now have a run of 3 decent games in a row with a potential of picking up 9 points, although 7 would be fine in my books, before they travel to Goodison Park. Who knows how Everton will be playing coming into that fixture but they’ve made a great start to the season so far.
Indeed Liverpool have been playing well in recent weeks. They’ve had a few unlucky breaks and most-importantly they haven’t converted enough chances in front of goal. The same problem that hurt them last season. I guess when Luis Suarez takes so many ambitious shots that’s going to be the case. Not having an out-and-out goalscoring striker in the squad doesn’t help them either.
I believe Luis Suarez has at least 20 goals in him this season. He only has 2 from 5 games so far, but as long as he is well-disciplined and doesn’t get another ban this season then as long as he continues to play he will score.
The players around Suarez haven’t been the greatest of providers to the Uruguayan. Stewart Downing infamously without a single assist since joining the Merseyside club, Jordan Henderson hasn’t created too many chances either. So look towards the middle of the pitch for assists in the coming weeks. Steven Gerrard capable of a great through ball; something that brought Fernando Torres a number of goals. And if Nuri Sahin gets time on the pitch, the Turk is also a playmaker who could serve Suarez well.
Defensively they still need to improve. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are decent centre backs, but they’re often backed up by Jamie Carragher who is long passed it (Liverpool even conceded 3 goals to Young Boys with him in the team). Sebastian Coates should be ahead of the has-been in my opinion. I’m not a fan of Glen Johnson on the best of days and Martin Kelly has been ruled out until 2013. That could see Johnson move back to right back and Jose Enrique come back into the starting lineup as early as this weekend.
As tipped on Thursday, I believe Liverpool will win at Norwich on Saturday. I’ve heard some people predicting a big victory is on the way for the 18 times champions of the England, and yes there’s a possibility of this being that game. Luis Suarez scored a hat trick in a 3-0 victory in this fixture last season.
If Brendan Rodgers continues to play his youngsters and fringe players in the Europa League, including the tougher games then I expect Liverpool to shoot up the Premier League by Christmas. I’m not sure they’re a top 6 team this season; Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are certainly finishing above them this season. Everton without serious injures I could see finishing above them too. Newcastle and Tottenham are hard to predict. But there’s 7 teams alone all capable of finishing above Liverpool this season. However, they’re finishing in the top half and they’ll be looking good by the end of the season.
Week after week I’ve heard Liverpool fans calling in 606 and talkSport crying and complaining. They’re not a title challenger and they’re not a Champions League side any more. They’re in a rebuilding state and with the youngsters getting a chance under Rodgers I believe he’ll be a much, much better coach than Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool fans just need to give him time and a chance.