Too little, and probably late as well. If Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho would have been playing for Liverpool since the start of the season, maybe things would have ended differently. A couple of spots higher in the table and European football next season. There’s plenty of promise to a side that has looked depressed at times during the campaign, and missed out on a happier finish for it.
Without Steven Gerrard, and without Luis Suarez, it doesn’t really matter. Liverpool are on a mission to finish the season the best way possible, even though they failed to get wins against Everton and Chelsea late in the year that could have put them in a better position to somehow usurp one of the teams positioned above them. Their poor record at Anfield is probably the most painful issue this season, winning only 8 matches of their 18 at home.
But there’s plenty to be optimistic about, even while knowing that there isn’t going to be too much money injected into the spending account Brendan Rodgers is in charge of. Luis Suarez, if he stays along and starts acting like an adult, is the main reason for it. Having Jordan Henderson develop into a player worthy of a spot in the lineup, although not in a play-making role, is another thing to be happy about.
But the potential shown by Coutinho, who a lot of people were weary of before he came along, and the scoring output of Daniel Sturridge through his first 13 matches at the club (10 goals following the hat trick in the 3-1 win over Fulham), gives those who think Liverpool should be a much more dominant force in both the Premier League and European football, which will have to wait for 12 months, plenty of reasons to be happy about.
It seems Liverpool haven’t had the kind of passing Coutinho provides in a very long time. Few players in the world have the long ball accuracy of Xabi Alonso, and Steven Gerrard on his good days, when he forgets about age and the burdens of all those injuries his body has gone through is an excellent passer as well, but Liverpool have been without someone that has the qualities of Coutinho for a very long time. Killer through balls, excellent dribbling, and it looks like he’s getting more and more confident in his own shooting ability, making him a much more dangerous player.
Sturridge might be just as surprising, after being forgotten on the Chelsea bench this season. The young English striker has always been considered talented, and his scoring numbers show that when given confidence and a chance to start in consecutive matches, the goals do come pouring out of him. He’ll have to adjust a bit better to playing next to such a dominant striker like Suarez, who demands a lot of attention and possession, but his speed and finishing instincts are just what the doctor ordered for a team that woke up a little bit too late.
There’s always next season at Anfield and for Liverpool, has been that way for far too long. Maybe this year, based on a very strong and exciting finish to the first half of 2013, people can actually believe that next year will actually be better.