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Liverpool: Flat track bullies? The evidence...

Liverpool have been accused of being 'flat track bullies' after again failing to beat a top side at the weekend. Is it an unfair criticism?

An article in the Independent today accuses Liverpool of being 'flat track bullies' - wiping the floor with weak teams but as soon as they play anybody half-decent, they fold.

Is it a fair criticism? We decided to take a look at the evidence.

One frustrating aspect of Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool reign so far is that they have lacked a 'statement' victory against a top Premier League side.

Against Manchester United? Two losses. Manchester City? One draw. Chelsea? One draw. Tottenham? One loss. Arsenal? One loss.

They could only draw against rivals Everton and last year's fifth placed finishing Newcastle.

Liverpool are currently in eighth position in the table - and a standout statistic is they have not won a single league game against any of the seven teams above them.

This includes West Brom, in seventh, who beat them on the opening day, although they did get a win against the Baggies in the Capital One Cup.

Ninth placed Swansea? A draw. 10th placed Stoke? A draw and a loss. So it gets worse. Liverpool have not won a single Premier League game against a team in the top half of the table.

Against the teams placed from 11th downwards, including Norwich, West Ham, Fulham, QPR, Wigan; Liverpool have a far better record, winning against each of those.

Not only that, but against Fulham and QPR they looked truly dominant. Luis Suarez has been magnificent this season, and tore relegation threatened QPR to shreds.

But to truly answer their critics, Liverpool need to step up and get a win over one of the league's top teams. A win past a team in the top half would be a start.

This will be a challenge they have to try answer at the end of the month. After hosting Norwich this weekend and facing Oldham in the FA Cup, the Reds face tricky away ties to Arsenal and Manchester City.

Before Liverpool are dismissed as simply flat track bullies, it must be remembered we are only halfway through the season. Judging any team halfway through a campaign is a fool's error, and we wouldn't label them as such ourselves, we're simply discussing the evidence for such an accusation now it has been made.

At the start of the season Liverpool had a horrendous run of fixtures, and these were among Rodgers' very first as Liverpool manager. As many of these were at home, it means they still have some tough away ties to come, but as the team was still gelling, they were unable to get the job done - And against City they were let down by some very silly mistakes from senior players.

They certainly haven't folded in the games. They have been narrowly beaten by United on each occasion and of the teams above them only Arsenal have beaten them by two clear goals. In fact most have been draws, so Liverpool are in the mix, but they just haven't been able to get over the hump and get the big win they want.

They have lost just three times in the last 10 league games, and are picking up form. We're halfway through the season and have a very skewed view. Before it can really be seen if Liverpool are any better than just 'flat track bullies' let's get to the end of the season.

If they could have those early fixtures back to re-do, we're betting they would win more than one of them now.

What do you think of Liverpool's season so far? Are such accusations fair?

image: © helly - b

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