If recent weeks haven’t proven it already, the 5-0 demolition of Swansea showed Brendan Rodgers what everybody knows – Liverpool have to play with two forwards, strikers more likely, in the lineup. Fabio Borini is once again injured, so as it should be, it’s pretty much up to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool were deserving of a few congratulation. Not just for winning 5-0, beating a mostly second-string Swansea side, but for winning their first match against a top 10 side this season. Michael Laudrup wasn’t letting anything get in the way of Swansea’s biggest moment in club history thus far. Liverpool were a perfect of example of how things can go wrong, as Fabio Borini hardly got a chance to play before dislocating his shoulder and leaving the game, ending the season.
But if you try and take the match seriously, it looked like Liverpool played in the lineup that most suits them, with Philippe Coutinho getting his first chance to make a real impression on the Anfield fans, getting the perfect stage to do it on. Steven Gerrard, in this setup, doesn’t play as close to Sturridge and Suarez, but it does take the role of play-maker off of his shoulders and sends a bit of the focus away from him, maybe allowing him more space to try and be the threat from long distance he rarely is these days.
But the magic really happens between Sturridge and Suarez. The thing that should please Liverpool the most is the fact that their understanding is still far from perfect – you see many moments of misinterpretation of movement from both players, but the blind understanding isn’t too far away, if Liverpool do manage to hang on to Suarez during the off-season. Rumors suggest that Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich will make a move for the Uruguayan striker.
It’s hard to really grasp Liverpool this season, but it seems that despite certain setbacks, like the loss at Zenit and the home defeat against West Brom, the team is playing better as the season progresses, especially with Sturridge in the lineup. There are matches, like this win over Swansea, when everything that can go right does, except for Fabio Borini, who has been a non-factor this season, ending his first year with Liverpool without actually beginning it.
Interestingly enough, despite the importance of the growing combination between Suarez and Sturrdige, the chances of Liverpool finishing in the top 5 depends on their defending. Rodgers has already made on switch, after a disappointing stretch from Martin Skrtel, giving Jamie Carragher extended time before he leaves the game for good. Jose Enrique seems to be back from his injuries, which gives Glen Johnson a chance to move back to the right wing, where he is more comfortable, but defensively volatile as always. Not because he isn’t a good defender, but because of his focus not always being in the right place. Same goes for Daniel Agger, who hasn’t been at his best this season, not to mention Pepe Reina.
Liverpool are swinging at the moment between losses, disappointments, wins and promise. With Sturridge and Suarez hopefully getting more minutes together, they can get off at the more positive end of the story.