Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers continues to insist that his side have what it takes to break into the top four, and if there’s any truth in that, the Reds next four matches will have to be the catalyst for an extended charge up the table.
They may have barley scrapped a win against relegation bound Burnley on Boxing Day, but at the end of the season the only thing that’s going to matter is that they got three points on the day — not how they did it or whether they deserved it. That being said, when Swansea City visit Anfield tomorrow, they’re going to have to be better than they were at Turf Moor — sentimentality aside, Gary Monk won’t be in a generous mood.
You eat too much, you drink too much and you don’t get enough sleep — everyone has a hangover in one form or another after the holidays and Liverpool showed they were no exception to the rule at Turf Moor.
A most uneventful first half bled in to a less than memorable second, bar a moment of brilliance from the visitors. Burnley looked more likely to find the breakthrough, but against the run of play, a clever flick from Philippe Coutinho saw the Brazilian release Raheem Sterling to run clear through on goal. It was nothing more than a shimmy and a shake before the 20-year old was rounding Clarets ‘keeper Tom Heaton to make the travelling Kop’s trip to Turf Moor worth it. While, for the most part anyway…
Although Liverpool continue to be linked with a motley cast of goalkeepers to replace current incumbent Simon Mignolet come January, stand-in ‘stopper Brad Jones isn’t about to worry himself with what could be just over the horizon, instead focusing on his own game and earning himself a new deal at the Anfield outfit.
“There is pressure on every player in every position. You are expected to win every week and when you don’t, you get criticised” said the Aussie shot-stopper when asked about handling criticism from the media and the pressure of being in the Liverpool starting eleven. “At smaller clubs, you get away with certain things. The magnifying glass isn’t as big, if you like. But if you here, you have obviously done something right to be here in the first place. When you are here, you have to deal with it as best you can.”
While it might be nothing more than a big slice of pie in the sky, with the January transfer window only days away from opening, Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Cech’s agent has been inviting interest onto his client with the shot-stopper looking likely to leave Stamford Bridge in the foreseeable future.
Although he once again played down a departure from the Premier League pace-setters next month, Viktor Kolar has made no secret of the fact that they’ve been actively looking for a new club for the 32-year old goalkeeper. A handful of appearances in domestic cups and the Champions League have kept the veteran shot-stopper from developing a serious case of hemorrhoids, but with only two appearances in the Premier League to his name so far this season, playing regular football remains at the top of the agenda.
Deep down every Kopite knew that the 5-1 pasting that we handed Arsenal in this fixture last season just wasn’t on, but by the way Liverpool started, you never would have thought it. That is, until you saw the way they ended.
Philippe Coutinho looked like he’d handed the Reds the lead on the stroke of half-time when his low shot was drilled into the bottom corner of the net, but Mathieu Debuchy somehow out-jumped Martin Skrtel to nod home with practically the final touch of the opening period. Olivier Giroud put the Gunners ahead just after the hour mark following some comical defending, but Arsene Wenger’s side never looked like hanging on to the lead even after the hosts went down to ten men and it would be Skrtel, who bagged a pair of headed goals in last season’s thrashing, that punished Arsenal yet again.