Brendan Rodgers’ side controlled and dominated the game from the first minute until the last minute of the game on Sunday against a team who that finished two places and eleven points ahead of them last term.
The win takes Liverpool back into 2nd place in the Premier League just two points behind Arsenal who play 3rd place Chelsea next week. There have been doubts over the Gunners’ capability of winning the title considering it’s been a decade since they achieved the top spot in the Premier League.
The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have been considered favourites from the first day of the season but little coverage has been granted to Liverpool’s capability to achieve what they haven’t done since 1990, almost a quarter of a century ago.
However, Rodgers’ side were every bit as convincing against Tottenham as Manchester City were in their 6-0 demolition of Spurs at the Etihad last month so why and for what reason are Liverpool any less capable than Manuel Pellegrini’s Blues?
The Reds have won more the same number of games as City and Chelsea (10 wins), and have lost the same number as Chelsea but one less defeat than City (3 defeats) scoring 39 goals for and conceding just 18 against which is a better goal difference than Chelsea and an equal defensive record to City.
What’s perhaps even more impressive about Sunday’s result is the injury to captain and talisman Steven Gerrard on top of injury to Daniel Sturridge but the exception talent of Luis Suarez more than compensated for those losses as well as fantastic performances from Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen in the skipper’s absence – those two really stepped up to the plate.
What I believe makes Liverpool not only title contenders but even perhaps favourites ahead of City and Chelsea is their manager – yes, Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini are two of the world’s finest practitioners of football coaching but I believe Brendan Rodgers, now that he’s settled into his role, is actually more of a risk-taker, more of a positive man-manager and more of an inspiration to his players and, for me, that’s going to make the difference this season.
Pellegrini and Mourinho have brought in new additions in abundance but none of the current top four, including leaders Arsenal, have been as efficient in their signings as Rodgers – to bring in talents like Coutinho, Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho, Allen, and Sturridge (amongst others) and not only integrate them into life on Merseyside but get them functioning as a team, playing for each other, working as a unit and growing in confidence at Anfield in the manner he has for such a (relatively) small outlay in such a small time-frame is nothing short of a footballing miracle in my estimation.
Then, on top of that, to motivate and inspire youngsters like Henderson, Allen, Coutinho, Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan to up the ante, to play with freedom, confidence and pride in the shirt is the work of a manager who deserves to be recognized alongside his contemporaries as a top boss. Mourinho has failed in that regard and Pellegrini has yet to do that with City convincing and yet both of those coaches have had significantly more resources made available to them.
They play with more confidence, quality, tenacity and audacity than any other team in the Premier League at present (including Arsenal who have also been impressive in their overall play) but Rodgers’ ability to bring in new players and give them faith and patience to go straight into the first team and perform has been achieved better than any other coach in the English top tier.
Luis Suarez makes Liverpool title contenders undoubtedly, but Brendan Rodgers makes them favourites in my estimation – he has made the most astute signings there have been in the Premier League in years, he’s worked with the players he already had and improved them so much many of them are actually performing above their technical capability at present.
They are overachieving oftentimes and he’s been honest about his aims and objectives, especially in the wake of defeats, but Liverpool have been getting stronger and stronger and are looking like a complete team (even without two key players available) and, crucially, have been building more consistency in the performances and, thus, their results.
image: © Bernard Chan