In the next 21 days, however, Liverpool will face 6 fixtures that, while they could ‘make or break’ our season, will tell us a lot about the quality and depth of our current squad.
From Thursday evening, Liverpool will take on Anzhi Makhachkala at Anfield, then Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday. Then it’s the home visit of current manager’s former club, Swansea, for a Capital One Cup tie quickly followed by the visit to Anfield of Newcastle; then the away game in the Europa against Anzhi and then off to Stamford Bridge for the much-anticipated continuation of our yearly grudge-match with Chelsea.
In many a year gone by, most of us would be looking forward to those 21 days with a sense of anticipation and excitement but this season, given our situation with a new manager, new players and current injury-crisis up-front (not to mention the prolonged absence of Lucas), Liverpool are looking like they’re not exactly in the most ideal position to deal with such a tough series of fixtures.
But, while it’s easy to be negative, there’s reason for optimism. We’ve seen some serious progression since the new season began, both in terms of style of play and also the youth we’ve seen brought through. The signs are good for us at the moment; we play great football, we’re dominating even the best teams in the land, we just lack the killer touch to finish them off when we have them on the ropes.
The indication from the kids is good too, with the likes of Suso, Sterling, Shelvey, Wisdom, amongst others coming in and showing that they have what it takes to step in and seem like seasoned-pros, and we are going to need them to step it up a notch more in the next month. But they will be ably assisted by the spine of quality that runs through the team, from Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, to Allen, Sahin, Gerrard and Suarez.
Not only that, but players like Henderson, Enrique, Downing (maybe even a certain Mr. Joe Cole) are going to have to make themselves take things up several gears, as Rodgers is going to need every inch of the depth of the squad he has at his disposal to make a success of the coming run of fixtures.
I have faith in these players though. Maybe not all of them, but with the quality we have in the first team and the youngsters who have made themselves regulars so far, I believe that we can come out of the other side with great, big smiles on our face. Provided we find a gem in one of the young strikers in the coming weeks that will help to temper our goal-scoring problems – to a degree – and hopefully a return to world class form from Pepe Reina we can enter into the meat of the season with realistic hopes of challenging on all fronts.