Southampton

Race for the top four

The days of top four certainty are over for English clubs. The top four that was once Arsenal, Chelsea, LIverpool and Manchester United has disspated with the demise of Liverpool and United. This year we have seen the resurgence of both sides wanting to be included in Europes elite competition. This year deciding who will be in the top four will not be a formality, with even Arsenal in doubt having been there every year under Arsene Wenger. For me there are five teams in contention with Chelsea and City having already secured their position fighting it out for the league title. What makes the battle for Champions league even more interesting is that 5 points splits the teams. I’ll not go into definitive positions but who’s in and who’s not getting the much coverted Champions League football.

Arsenal and Liverpool for me will be the teams that find themselves in the top four come the end of the season. Unfortuantely that means Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham will miss out and I’ll tell you why. Manchester United have been performing poorly all season but, have found themslves in and amongst the race for European football. In my opinion their luck is about to run out and rightly so, no team deserves to be this high up the table having yet to turn up properly. As for Southampton they began the season fantasically but, have began to peter off now. Most likely due to the volume of games and players tiring as Southampton lack a depth in squad. Tottenham have been fortuante enough to find themselves a goal machine in Harry Kane who has been superb all year. Had they put him in the team earlier in the season perhaps, they would be far closer to securing a second stint in the Champions League.

Arsenal under Wenger have never failed to secure a top four finish and this experience will help them as the games are closing in on single figures. Wenger has come under a lot of scrutiny since the defeat to Monaco but, going out of the Champions League next week might help their league objective. Liverpool are the form side in the whole of Europe, yet to taste defeat since the turn of the year in the league. The change in formation implemented by Brendan Rodgers has rejuvenated this squad who are aiming towards the heights of last year.

If you feel like the top four will look any different to how I have suggested it will, comment down below the team that will, who they’re replacing and why.

One Game at a Time

It has been on all of our minds what does Liverpool need to do to take the clubs first ever premier league title ending the drought of 24 years without a league title.  Interview afetr interview with Liverpool players and manager alike have all said they are taking one game at a time a cliche in world football. Often we hear managers and players saying this as an excuse not to loom forward as not too put pressure on themselves relieving it from those competing against them.

This mantra has seen Liverpool regain the top spot in the premier league where they rightfully deserve to be since the turn of the year being undeafted in the league. In that time they have faced many a good team namely; Arsenal, Southampton, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs winning them all convincingly but before and after each game the mantra remained one game at a time which is becoming quite the footballing philosophy around Anfield. What this mantra means for the players; they really have one thing to look forward to not “oh we have Spurs next week” but ” we are paying Sunderland today and our main priority is the 3 points here today” this philosophy has seen the side look a lot more convincing against the smaller league side and most importantly the recently promoted sides that in previous years we have struggled greatly against. Liverpool have dispatched the majority of the smaller sides a part from the obvious hiccup against Hull City (a newlty promoted side).

Looking at only the immediate future and focussing on the next game has ensured that anything else going on outside of the club is not a distraction like the dubious claims of Jose Mourinho. Without the distractions of last years incident involving Luis’ and his ban we have remained quite quiet in terms of on and off field antics meaning there has been no particular emphasis on our players. Surprisingly the media have left Liverpool to their own devise this season without the usual speculation of our best players leaving and ownership changes. The stability of the side and club could stem from the calmness of the backroom staff who work with the players everday on and off the pitch ensuring happiness in all aspects of their life. Raheem Sterling is one who springs to mind when talking of a calming factor, as he has thanked and praised Rodgers for his help settling hiom into the side this season allowing him to express himself more freely.

It’s a Red New Year

For my future blogs I’ve decided based upon feedback on twitter to make the blogs shorter and brief. This will be the first of the new format.

It’s a Red New Year

Since the turn of the new year Liverpool are undefeated excluding the loss in the cup against Arsenal at the Emirates following up the 5-0 thrashing of them in the previous week at Anfield which was more than embarrassing for the Gunners. That game was a prime example of the ever improving side under the stewardship of Rodgers showing the arsenal of attacking options available to the red men. Liverpool have been superb home and away with great displays like the Arsenal victory, the Merseyside derby and most recently showing how the squad can adapt to swift formation changes the 3-0 victor at St. Mary’s.

With the mentioning of the Southampton victory previously and also it being the most recent, it would be more appropriate to talk about that with regards to Liverpool’s rich vein of form this year. Liverpool as they have done throughout BR reign pushed high and forced Southampton into mistakes and a faster tempo which meant passing errors would be more frequent allowing Liverpool to capitalise with the unbelievably fast attack they have on the counter. The story of the first half was with both team not having much luck in front of goal.

The second half got under way with another one of Liverpool’s explosive moves going forward with the usual end result a Luis Suarez premier league goal which left Southampton stunned like it has other previous red’s opposition. Normally after the first goal it becomes an onslaught on the opposition teams goal leading to further key chances being created by the little Brazilian and his majestic jinking in and out of defenders waiting for the ideal time to slide in a delicious pass to a member of the SAS. Strangely this time at St. Mary’s it took slightly longer than expected to double the lead, it took the introduction of the dynamic flair Raheem Sterling with his first touch to help the red men put real separation between them and the The Saints. As the game was about to come to an end Suarez ran his man down into the ground with a final cut back in side on to his left foot forcing the Saints defender to take him down and the leaving the ref with no choice but to point to the spot where Gerard ended any hope of a dream come back.