Maybe it’s a bit premature to talk about must-win games and the possibilities of a top four finish when we are only in November, but it’s certainly true to say that the next three games could define Liverpool’s season. It could either rendering the Reds under-achievers for yet another year, or embodying hope for Reds fans that this could be the year they venture back into Europe.
About the game against Swansea at the weekend, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said “We were poor in most aspects If not every aspect of the game.”
Liverpool’s home form has been patchy at best having failed to win any of their last three home games. They peppered Norwich’s goal with 25 shots but only managed 1 goal, couldn’t put to bed an under strength United side, and against Swansea they didn’t manage to score at Anfield for the first time this season.
In a weekend where both Chelsea and Manchester United scraped 1-0 wins with under par performances, it speak volumes for Liverpool’s European hopes that they couldn’t do the same.
A squad with the goalscoring talents of Luis Suarez, who had 11 shots against Norwich without scoring a goal, and £35 million powerhouse Andy Carroll whose form has been patchy at best along with veteran Welshman Craig Bellamy should never be short of goals, but this season the Reds are struggling to find the net. The chances are coming but the side isn’t converting enough of those chances.
Suarez has been on sparkling form creatively but has been lacking accuracy finishing. As former Liverpool striker John Alridge said, ‘[Suarez] is a scorer of great goals, not a great goal scorer.”
Provided Liverpool’s strike force hit a run of form, the midfielders look capable of taking the side forward. Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam has impressed the Anfield faithful in his maiden season. Lucas Leiva has grown tremendously over the last 18 months. Combine that with the undoubted potential of youngster Jordan Henderson, then contrary to the lackluster home form of late, things are looking up for the Merseyside club.
When you consider full back Glen Johnson has returned from injury and Spanish left back José Enrique has slotted seamlessly into the side, added to Daniel Agger’s successful return, defensively the Reds look solid.
If they can keep players fit and healthy during the international break — which is by no means as simple as it sounds — then they have a chance of going to Stamford Bridge and getting a result
Manchester City visit Anfield on November 27 and even the most optimistic fan would have to think twice about predicting a home victory with the form the Citizens are in. Then just two days later, Liverpool play Chelsea in the Carling Cup — a tough turnaround for any side. So Liverpool may have it all do come December.
The prognosis? Liverpool have the squad to finish well, but in this day and age that just isn’t enough. Realistically Spurs and even Arsenal will probably outbid them in the fight for a European place.