Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Liverpool: We're Baaaack!

Yesterday's 8-0 thrashing of Turkish side Beşiktaş served notice to all the Liverpool doubters out there: this team has no intentions of exiting the Champions League early or of finishing outside the top four in the Premiership. In the second half, the Reds made Beşiktaş look like an amateur team, scoring goals almost at will. Ryan Babel's backheel goal will probably be the classiest goal we'll see this season, Peter Crouch bagged a brace to further his claim for a regular starting spot, and Yossi Benayoun's hat trick capped off an amazing night at Anfield for the team and their fans.

There are some up-and-coming teams in the Premiership--Portsmouth, Aston Villa, and Blackburn chief among them--but none of these sides are ready to claim Liverpool's spot in the top four. I don't want to read too much into this one game, but I still believe Liverpool will finish ahead of Arsenal at season's end, and part of that is because of their defense. Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, and Jose Reina make up the best collective combination of two center backs and a goalie out of any other team in the league, and when Agger returns to the lineup in a couple weeks, Liverpool will be even tougher to beat then they are now (and they're still undefeated).

The Merseyside Reds close out their Champions League group campaign with one must-win game for sure (at Marseille) and a game they probably need to win (home against Porto; they will win). I like their chances to go through, particularly with their now-superior goal differential, and history has shown that this club is probably the toughest of outs in the knockout stages.

I also think they have a favorable schedule coming up in the Premiership, with Fulham at home, Newcastle away, Bolton at home, and Reading away, followed by the colossal home date with Manchester United on December 16. From those five games, Liverpool should grab 12 points and could potentially take all 15, which would put them back in the title hunt.

Don't count out the Reds yet, Rafa Benitez has finally seen the light in playing a more attack-minded lineup and when Liverpool get fully healthy (Alonso, Agger, and Torres fully fit), they are going to be a dangerous team and should reclaim their place amongst the Premier League's top four.

1 comment:

tyduffy said...

It was definitely an awesome performance. Although, I think Besiktas just quit.