Liverpool Firing on All Cylinders


Don’t look now, but Liverpool are absolutely on fire. Liverpool overpowered, outmatched, and dominated West Ham today at Anfield in their 2-0 victory over the East London outfit. Raheem Sterling latched on to a beautiful feed from Philippe Coutinho to give the Reds an early second half lead. Coutinho played the role of provider again in the 80th minute when Liverpool put the match to bed. Anfield erupted when a rocket from Daniel Sturridge pierced the net, just 12 minutes after his reintroduction into the squad.

More from Liverpool FC

This was a Reds squad that was heavily ridiculed after a horrendous start to the Premier League season complemented by an early unexpected exit from Champions League. Questions were raised over whether Brendan Rodgers could lead the club to their potential or if he was lucky to have a world-class star like Luis Suarez on his side last season. Daniel Sturridge went down with an early injury and Steven Gerrard was a step slower than the previous season. The new signings were labeled as busts; most of them hadn’t gotten their fair shot, but judgement was raining down on the lads.

All of that is in the rear view mirror now. Liverpool boast a side that have not lost a 90-minute match since their December 14th defeat at Old Trafford. Not including the extra time defeat to Chelsea in Capital One Cup play, that spans 11 matches in Premier League, FA Cup, and Capital One Cup football. As of this writing, Liverpool are only 4 points out of a Champions League spot, but Southampton has a match in hand). What has led to this sudden turnaround and revival?

Live Feed

"Dreadful" Liverpool defender was shunned for being "miles off" vs Wolves
"Dreadful" Liverpool defender was shunned for being "miles off" vs Wolves /

The Top Flight

  • Liverpool making late comebacks all the rage once againRush The Kop
  • Wolves tilt gives Klopp opportunity to tinker with lineup following international dutyRush The Kop
  • Players to watch in the matchup with WolvesRush The Kop
  • Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp's agent FINALLY addresses rumours he'll leaveThe Top Flight
  • Premier League rumors: Haaland to Barca, Lampard to Lyon, Bowen to LiverpoolFanSided
  • For one, the defense has locked down. This can be attributed to a few key cogs in that Liverpool back line. Mamadou Sakho, arguably Liverpool’s best defender, is now fit and back from injury. He has been placed in the heart of the defense in the new 3-5-2 formation Rodgers has seen Liverpool succeed in. The French back’s tenacity, speed, and physicality make it difficult for opposing forwards to impose their will. Emre Can, touted as a defensive midfielder, has found a home on the back line to the right of Sakho. Frozen out of the lineup earlier in the season, Can was determined to help the team anyway he could and boy has he. The revelation at back has allowed wing backs Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic to fire up the pitch and help Liverpool spread the field and attack on the outside to open up the middle.

    Speaking of defense, Simon Mignolet must have found a time machine because he’s remembered how to play keeper again. Despite a slew of comical errors earlier in the season leading to jokes such as not trusting your baby in the arms of Mignolet (as it was suggested he would drop him or her), the Liverpool backstop has been a rock of late. As a matter of fact, the rejuvenated defense and goalkeeping has led to three straight Premier League clean sheets.

    More from Playing for 90

    The Liverpool attack seems to be coming back in form as well. Raheem Sterling has been great all season, but seems to have an extra pep in his step since Rodgers let him vacation in Jamaica. Another midfielder who seems to have returned to last season’s form is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian magician is back at it pulling strings and making key passes, leading to great scoring opportunities. One that has taken advantage of a few of those chances was labeled as a bust to start the season, but Adam Lallana is starting to live up to his tag. His ability to find and make runs into the open spaces have led to some great chances and goals for Liverpool the past few weeks.

    Brendan Rodgers seems to have gotten the critics off his back as well. His switch to a 3-5-2 has led to this run of results as the formation plays to the strengths of the current roster. Additionally, the decisions to freeze out players that were not getting it done, Glen Johnson and Dejan Lovren, has led to a more consistent lineup and mindset. It’s not an easy task to integrate so many newcomers and find the perfect lineup, but it seems like Rodgers has found his preferred XI. It also doesn’t hurt to have club legend Steven Gerrard around to act as a second manager both on and off the pitch.

    Next: Milan add Destro but does it help?

    Finally, the return of Daniel Sturridge is huge for Liverpool. As mentioned above, he wasted no time showing the EPL and Liverpool what they were missing. His presence on the team is not only important for banging in more goals, but his movement and vision will open up space for the others to contribute at a higher level as well.

    With 15 Premier League matches left, Champions League aspirations are still very alive, but it will be an intense battle as there are seemingly two spots up for grabs between Southampton, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham. Oh yeah, don’t forget about oncoming Liverpool too!

    Is it just a good run of form or can we expect to see this from Liverpool the rest of the season? Do you think Liverpool will qualify for 2015-16 Champions League? Let us know by leaving your comments or answering the poll below!