BRENDAN RODGERS can take plenty of encouragement from Liverpool FC’s performance at Manchester City on Sunday.
Okay, they didn’t win, but that was the best the team have played in a long time in all areas.
Liverpool nullified City, they were good on the counter-attack, they were good in possession, their passing was excellent and their movement was good.
They looked like they could score every time they went forward against City, and not many teams manage to do that at the Etihad.
Liverpool were caught out for the two goals, but that happens against good teams with quality. Indeed, my mate, who is a City fan, sent me a text after the game saying his team had got away with it.
Just look at how far Rodgers’ men have progressed from losing to Aston Villa in December. That was a dark day, not because of the defeat but rather the manner of it.
It’s not escaped my attention that Joe Allen and Fabio Borini, Rodgers’ big summer signings, were both on the bench on Sunday.
If Liverpool keep playing as they are between now and the end of the season, while they won’t finish in the top four, they can at least challenge towards the end of the campaign.
They don’t have many tough games to come now, so they have no excuse for not being able to kick on.
To do that, they have to keep Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez fit. That duo are more important than nearly all of the top teams’ leading players; for example, if you took Juan Mata out of Chelsea’s team, they still have Oscar and Eden Hazard they can call upon. Without Gerrard and Suarez, Liverpool just become an okay team.
With a bit more luck and better judgement, Liverpool could have beaten City twice this season.
I don’t think Pepe Reina needed to come so far off his line for Sergio Aguero’s equaliser. If you are coming that sort of distance, you have to be certain.
Aguero was almost on the byline. What could he have done from that position if Reina was back on his line? He wouldn’t have even attempted to shoot.
Reina hadn’t been particularly busy so maybe he thought he could contribute to the match.
That’s not always a good thing. After all, I played in front of a goalkeeper who’d want to be involved every second!