Expect Liverpool to Continue Ascent Under Rodgers
By Kevin Rooney.
AS the Manchester clubs battle it out for Premiership supremacy one club has gone under the radar somewhat.
Liverpool are now sitting seventh in the Premier League following a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich.
And Irishman Brendan Rodgers has fans dreaming of a return to the Champions League after a four year hiatus. The battle for fourth will prove every bit as interesting as the title race itself and I fully expect Liverpool to be involved in it. Rodgers came in on the back of the woeful reign of ‘King’ Kenny Daglish.
The Antrim native had no money to spend after Daglish squandered £35m on the over-rated Andy Caroll. And to make matters worse, he flogged several players in the summer under the assumption he would be getting plenty of new blood in.
Apart from Fabio Borini, the new players never arrived and ‘Pool got short shift from Fulham when they offered a meagre £3m for the Texan Clint Dempsey.
So basically Rodgers has had to make do with pretty much what he inherited. But it has worked out fine in the end.
Rodgers has even made Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing look decent. The magical Luis Suarez continues to be a goal machine and January new boy Daniel Sturridge has hit the ground running with goals against Mansfield, Man U and Norwich.
The Europa League returns in earnest next month but hopefully Rodgers will have some sense and field a reserve team.
If the likes of Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Johnson and Reina are kept fit for the Sunday matches that follow then ‘Pool will not slip up in the race for fourth.
The Reds currently lie seven points behind Tottenham in fourth but an exit in the fourth or fifth rounds of the FA Cup would also mean less headaches for Rodgers.
Liverpool will play Arsenal at the end of the month and this season has seen the Merseysiders unable to get results against teams above them.
This will have to change if Liverpool are to make fourth and a result against the Gunners could be vital in trying to secure that.
One hopes Fenway Sports Group (FSG) will give Rodgers time to implement his plan at Anfield. You only have to look at Manchester United to see how stability brings success.
Mauricio Pochettino?? Yes, me too. I had begun to think football couldn’t surprise me anymore but this one did. Why oh why would you sack a manager who has steered you through two divisions to get to the Premiership. Southampton are also bang in form so this sacking is completely ludicrous. You sort of hope the Saints do go down now and then Nicola Cortese will realise what a terrible mistake he made.
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Newcastle United now have their lowest points total in January ever. After the home set-back against Reading its to the midlands and Aston Villa in a relegation six-pointer next week. If the Toon lose to the Villains it could prove curtains in the battle to avoid the drop.