Top Four

5 points behind

Having disappointingly lost to United are we down and out of those teams competing for the top four? Some people think that our chances have disappeared as quickly as Steven Gerrard did on Sunday. Others including myself see this as an opportunit to complete another miraculous comeback. More recently we have been under dogs when it comes to challenging for the title but, we sure gave everyone a scare last year only losing out by 2 points. Perhaps this is another chance to cause an upset and seriously mount a challenge on the top four.

It was inevitably that we would face defeat again by the end of the season, so you could say it is better to get it out of the way now and go on another push towards the summit. Yesterday told us a lot of things about the team. Firstly and most importantly we need to start games far better than we have in recent weeks. In these sort of games you expect the opening 30 minutes to be hotly contested conceding possession consistently but, we got dominated against United. What was even stranger about this is that we are known for our possession game, whereas you expect United to attack down the wings at pace. Another thing yesterday told us that we need to be more adaptable during the game, Emre Can was against Fellani all game and had a torrid time of it, struggling in the aerial battles. This could have been easily resolved by sticking Skrtel on him, who is far more competent in the air. It has been further cemented into my mind that Raheem Sterling has some attitude problems. He is the sort of player you hope to be watching in the future in a red shirt scoring 30 or 40 goals a season which, is realistic having watched his development in to a senior key player. When played out of position you do not see the same desire to play for the team whereas, when he is playing further forward. This lack of effort suggests to me he is definitely not worth more than £100,000 a week on performances like that against United.

For me and many of us optimistic fans this will be an uphill struggle to overturn the 5 point deficit; that is the gap between us and the prize of Champions League football. Knowing what we are capable as a side I know we can grow stronger with the remaining 8 games. Most importantly though, we will be looking for other teams to do us a favour and get victories against United who still have to play; Arsenal, Chelsea and City.

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Liverpool showing their resilience

As everbody knew going to the Liberty stadium was not going to be a formality and it was far from it in the end. Having been totally dominated in the first half it came as a surprise the teams went into the changing rooms with the scores level. On a number of occassions Mignolet made some outsatnding saves to thwart the Swansea attack. Going into half time with either side yet registering on the scoreboard Gary Monk will have been the happiest of the two managers. Brendan Rodgers will have had a lot to say to get his team up and ready for the second half where they couldn’t play much worse.

As you would expect Liverpool were better in the second half where Joe Allen was particularly impressive with his tackling and moving of the ball. Liverpool were always going to have some form of pressure at one point and after a clever flick from sturridge for Henderson to run onto we were presented with it. The Swansea defender beat Henderson to the ball but, the path the defender decided to take clearing the ball was in line with Henderson. This lead to a deflection that looped the goalkeeper leaving him stranded and Liverpool one goal to the good. Taking the lead afforded Liverpool the opportunity to sit back and counter with devastating affect. Daniel Sturridge struck the post late on to give the Swans a late shock.

Liverpool showed their resilience all game pressing the ball, tackling players and holding out for a result that perhaps on the balance should have been a draw. This reilience was not a part of the side that came second last year with the idea that if you score one we’ll score two. The distinct change in identity has meant that Liverpool are more defensively independent and are able to cope with an onslaught and come away with 3 points. With Manchester United on Sunday the Reds will be feeling a lot better about the game in Anfield where they can move one point clear of their rivals with a win.