Unfortunately, you can only live so much on the glory of your past achievements. Liverpool’s impressive win in White Hart Lane bought Brendan Rodgers a lot of credit for the way he’s shaped and molded this team into something that has turned not only into one of the more enjoyable sides in the Premier League, but possibly also one of the best.
The question is – will it get better than this? Are Liverpool good enough to remain in the top 4 until the end of the season? Or was this impressive win over Tottenham, also getting their manager fired which is always a nice bonus, the best we’ll get to see from Liverpool this season, and soon enough we’ll begin speculating about where Luis Suaez will be playing next season?
The naysayers, like Michael Cox who usually makes brilliant points, will point to the fact that this 5-0 win was mostly due to Tottenham and Andre Villas-Boas making all the wrong decisions and playing into Liverpool’s hands. They’ll say that at some point this Luis Suarez magic is going to end, and Liverpool will start falling behind the clubs that are meant to challenge and win the title – Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal from the looks of things right now. They’ll say that this squad has overachieved, and the Christmas schedule will tell the truth about a good team that still a bit far away from being great.
But there’s also all the reasons in the world to be optimistic. Brendan Rodgers has made tactical mistakes this season – the loss at home to Southampton, the losses at Arsenal and Hull City, but he’s learning. It certainly helps that Luis Suarez has been a one man wrecking crew since this season began, but there’s much more to it than just the Uruguayan, who has been the best scorer in Europe since this season began.
The midfield, with or without Steven Gerrard, is coming together. Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson looked like big busts during their debut seasons, but things have changed. They give Liverpool a mobile, aggressive and versatile midfield, while either Lucas and Steven Gerrard, a lot less mobile at this stage of his career, provide a bit more wisdom and defending, while Gerrard, when he gets back, is still one of the best set piece takes in the league.
One match isn’t going to determine that everything about their captain has been holding them back, but it does cultivate a certain kind of confidence that previously didn’t exist when they had to deal with a Gerrard injury, which always happens at one point or another. The important thing is that those who have to cover for him don’t cause a sharp decline in ability and function like before.
Maybe Liverpool did look great because they met a total mess of a team, but there have been too many moments this season, with good football or simply with persistent and strong mental ability, that suggest this isn’t just a lucky phase that will soon end. Liverpool might not be rich, deep and talented as some of their rivals, but they have the right kind of blend that in this type of season might be enough to make it a happy ending, and possibly even allowing themselves to think about the end to a famous drought.