Its been a great start to the season for Liverpool FC, that has included three wins and a draw from four with only two goals conceded.
Expectations at Anfield of a serious premier league title challenge are beginning to grow. While a title is probably a step too far for Brendan Rodgers developing side there are number of reasons for long-suffering Reds supporters to be optimistic again.
The summer signings of Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure were meet with scepticism by rival’fans and even some elements of the Liverpool faithful especially as the pair were replacing terrace heroes, Pepe Reina and Jaime Carragher.
However the pair have made a stunning start to the campaign and along with Daniel Sturridge who has been the stars of the show so far. The England man has scored three winners and one on Monday night and is looking a like a striker full of confidence and is 9/1 second favorite with Boylesports.com to be the seasons top goalscorer
With the villain of the league, Luis Suarez set to return at the end of the month the signs are that Liverpool will challenge for a Top Four spot with Boylesports.com putting the club as fourth favourites for a title at 8/1, above Arsenal and big spenders Tottenham.
In order to achieve that however the Reds are going to have pull of spectacular results.
Despite only winning one game top six sides last season (Tottenham 3-2) Liverpool managed to draw away to Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal and Everton.
Rodgers side were unbeaten against City, Chelsea and the Toffees however two defeats to Manchester United, a home loss to Arsenal and a disjointed defeat away to Spurs meant that they ended the season with just 10 points from a possible 36 against their rivals.
It was against teams below them however where Liverpool really struggled with the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Stoke both going undefeated against the Reds last season while Southampton, Reading, Newcastle and West Ham all picking up points with Liverpool’s failure to break down more defensively minded sides a problem, particularly in the early parts of last season. They have scored 43 goals since the 01st January, racking up big wins especially on the road.
If Liverpool are going to maintain their fine start to the season and mount a title challenge they are going to have to win some big games and SportsNewsIreland has picked our Five games that will leave Reds fans in a spin and full of belief that they can break their Premier League duck and at least qualify for the Champions League next season, Liverpool at 13/10 wth Boylesports.com for a top four finish.
West Bromwich Albion at Home 26th October
The Reds lost 2-0 at home in the same fixture last season.
In fact West Brom proved to be a bit of bogey side last year running home five goals and conceding none in their two meetings and while Liverpool gained some measure of revenge with a 2-1 win in the League Cup Rodgers will be keen to avenge their league reversals last season.
Hull City Away 1st December
We know he can do it on a warm spring day in Newcastle but the real test for Philippe Coutinho and his tika-taka loving team-mates will come on a cool December at Hull.
Steve Bruce’s side have impressed in patches against Chelsea and Manchester City to date despite their losses and already have three points on the board. With many predicting them to struggle they will be up for the fight and will no doubt bid to turn the KC Stadium into their fortress.
A win away to Hull in December would set the Reds up nicely for the home game with Norwich the week after and then the trip to London to face West Ham with Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea waiting in the wins three wins would really build confidence ahead of the tricky festive season.
Arsenal at home 8th February
Last season the Reds let slip a 2-0 lead at the Emirates to draw 2-2 and while the result was generally heralded as positive Rodgers was disappointed to have left London with only a point.
The former Swansea manager would have been even more disappointed by the 2-0 loss at Anfield however when goals from Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski saw the Gunners score their first goals of the season.
Away to Southampton 1st March
While March has the potential to be a tricky month with Manchester United away and Spurs at home later in the month, the opening fixture of the month away to Southampton will build the tone for the later clashes. The Reds lost 3-1 last season and will be out to improve on that result.
Chelsea at home 26th April
If there are still in the title race at this point then this fixture could prove crucial. Jose Mourinho’s side are set to be in the mix and as with all of the Portuguese tactician’s side, the Blues will be difficult to beat.
Given the array of talent at Stamford Bridge it is no surprise to see Chelsea as the early favourites for the title although with Rodgers a former pupil of Mourinho a pupil becomes master ala the karate kid will prove to be a fantastic tactical battle if nothing else.