Why a late season loss could help Liverpool calm expectation

Brendan Rodgers is seemingly on a roll at Liverpool in recent weeks. Will he handle the expectation well going into next season?

The positivity at Liverpool is reaching the same levels which accompanied Kenny Dalglish at the start of his second stint as manager, which in theory is no bad thing.

Rodgers has got the team playing exciting football, scoring goals, and his last two signings, Coutinho and Sturridge are proving to be superb buys.

The club are coming into their best patch of form under his management, and there is a buzz of confidence which will heighten to a stacked level of expectation heading towards the summer.

Liverpool will be expected to buy well, and improve, and kick on next season with renewed vigour and push for the Champions League places.

And why not, it is after all where they want to be, and many parts of the puzzle are in place, including star man Luis Suarez who should not be sold at any cost.

But if you cast your mind back to Kenny Dalglish's end of season run after taking charge in January 2011, the feeling is not dissimilar.

Liverpool were tough to beat, and racked up some big wins, including a Maxi Rodriguez-inspired five goal demolition away to Fulham.

It led to Liverpool being tipped by many to challenge for the Premier League title, including BBC Sport's Mark Bright who infamously touted them as his pick to win the league in 2011/12.

How wrong he was. Liverpool bought badly over the summer, some would say that is an understatement, and Liverpool never looked like challenging, and Dalglish found himself replaced.

One of the problems for Liverpool last season was the expectation, as it always is, that they can mount a challenge.

Right now, the expectation around the Reds is great; that they will (a) have an excellent summer of transfers - It can't be worse than the last two, and (b) they will enjoy a terrific season next time out.

That pressure is tough to deal with, and a superb final three games will add to it.

Fans would love the Reds to go and follow up their 6-0 win at Newcastle with big wins against Everton, Fulham and QPR, and a maximum haul of nine points is very possible.

But if there is a negative scoreline, and an upset over the final three matches, Liverpool fans shouldn't be too upset, regardless of the impact on their final league position.

For what it may do, is make sure nobody at the club gets ahead of themselves, players and staff included, and fans expectations are brought down just a notch, as to what is possible next season.

That in turn will make it easier on Liverpool if 2013/14 does get off to a tricky start, while management won't lose sight of what is required from a business perspective over the summer.

If Liverpool could win all the time then it would be great, but this season has shown just when it looks good there is a surprise lurking around the corner - see losses to Oldham and Southampton.

If another strikes, it isn't the end of the world, it may even turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

What do you think of the current level of expectation heading into the summer and next season surrounding Liverpool? 

image: © Vincent Teeuwen

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