Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has said he hopes the side can prove its title credentials in the coming months – and highlighted the run the Reds have in the league between now and Feburary.
Liverpool have got off to a good start, they are currently second in the table two points off the pace of Arsenal at the top of the table – with the objective for this season appearing to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2009.
November has already seen a loss away to Arsenal but responded against Fulham at the weekend. Between now and February, Liverpool visit many of their rivals towards the top of the table – the first being the Merseyside derby after the international break – which will be an incredibly tough test given Everton’s start to the season, and derbies are always emotionally-sapping and tricky fixtures.
Trips to Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea take place in December before the bigger sides start to visit Anfield in January and February in Everton and Arsenal.
But in amongst this run, Liverpool have some games which they should be taking maximum points from, new boys in Cardiff and Hull visit Anfield – with the Reds also visiting the KC Stadium at the start of the next month. Norwich and West Ham who haven’t had the best of starts to their seasons also head to Anfield so even if Liverpool do struggle to pick up a fair chunk of points against the bigger sides, there is an opportunity to stay in touch with the fixtures that take place around those periods.
What Mignolet outlined was 16 games before the run in starts in March, and with Liverpool currently sitting on 23 points after 11 games, how many points do they need to have to be in a good position come the end of February?
Averaging two points a game would put Liverpool on 55 points with 11 games remaining. The highest points total to get into fourth place over the previous six seasons was Liverpool themselves in 2007/08 with 76 points, possibly leaving 21 to get. Seven wins from 11 games is a distinct possibility even with the odd tricky game in the run in many. Man City and Chelsea both head to Anfield during that period with Southampton and Manchester United being the stand out away games for Liverpool to look out for in that period.
But for title credentials, Liverpool are going to have to aim for around 45 given the finishing totals of recent seasons, which will inevitably mean taking points off some of the favourites. Only once have the league winners finished with a points total that hasn’t been in the higher 80’s [Manchester United in 2010/11 finished with 80].
Title credentials? If Liverpool have them, then Mignolet is right. This is a massive period coming up.
image: © ekilby