The defeat away at Blackburn Rovers in January was the straw that broke the camels back. Within moments following the final whistle Roy Hodgson was hauled away from the cameras by the LFC Media Officer, and told in no uncertain terms not to make plans to attend the weekend’s FA Cup clash at Manchester United.
Hodgson wasn’t prepared to fall on his sword so a few days were spent discussing his severance package. A reward for failure. But in the end a fee many Liverpool fans will have thought worthy of paying to cut away the anchor from the good ship Liverpool.
Despite an unfortunate 1-0 defeat against the 12 men of United in the FA Cup, coupled with a slide out of Europe – Liverpool’s turnaround in Premier League fortunes has been very positive for Liverpool supporters.
After only 1 win and a miserable 7 defeats in the opening 9 away games, Liverpool have now added 3 wins and a draw to the 7 that Kenny has been in charge of.
The reds look to be pushing for 60 points in the Premier League, when form at the turn of the year was suggesting that the reds wouldn’t make it to 50.
But LFC’s recent run of results has not been perfect. Kenny has had to content with a heavily depleted side, the turmoil of the Torres departure, and an injury to his replacement that prevented his immediate deployment.
West Brom’s penalty double, the defeat at West Ham and Kenny’s opening reverse against Blackpool have all added to the stains on the away game copybook for this season.
It also highlights the reds ongoing problem that has plagued them this season and last.
Ruthlessness. Or a distinct lack of it.
In the past couple of months Liverpool have played each of the current top four sides. Man United, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal. They’ve beaten 3 of them and drawn against one of them. Even with a weakened side, the reds have proven that they do have far more ability than the present league position suggests.
The problem this season has been against the Premier League strugglers.
LFC have suffered two defeats at home this season. To bottom placed Wolves, and 3rd from bottom Blackpool. They have also had two draws to bottom 6 clubs. That’s 10 points dropped out of 18 against the bottom 6 clubs at Anfield.
Against the bottom 5 clubs
Of the 10 games played against the bottom 5 clubs in the league, Liverpool have only managed 3 victories. 2 draws and 5 defeats.
If we skip back two seasons the figures read P10 W8 D1 L1.
Even last season, which was not one of glory, the reds managed 7 wins and a draw.
Past 3 seasons
Top 5/Bottom 5
|v Top 5 (Pts per game)||v Bottom 5 (Pts per game)|
Top 10/Bottom 10
|v Top 10 (Pts per game)||v Bottom 10 (Pts per game)|
* 2010-11 figures up to April 19th 2011
Much has been made of LFC’s poor away form over the recent 18 months, however it is difficult to comprehend beating Chelsea away and getting a draw at Arsenal, yet losing to Blackpool and West Ham. Equally as it is beating Chelsea, Man City and Man United at home – then getting beat by Wolves and Blackpool.
Liverpool may see Spurs as the biggest game left of the season, but they should ensure they dispatch Birmingham, Newcastle and Fulham before then.
Why are Liverpool struggling against the ‘weaker’ Premier League sides this season, yet have done well against the top ten (and in particular the top four)?