One can only sit back and marvel at how much Liverpool has improved since last season. After 9 games last season, we were stuck in the bottom half with just 2 wins. Fast forward a year later, we sit comfortably in 2nd (until Chelsea plays) after a delightful 4-1 victory over West Brom.
One can also argue that West Brom isn’t a very tough opponent. But having lost both home and away to them last season; a bitter 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns on the opening day of the EPL, and then 0-2 at Anfield, this game was never going to be an easy gaming for Rodgers’s boys. West Brom went into this game unbeaten in their last 5 and yet to lose away from home this season.
Like clockwork, Liverpool’s first half started well-formulated, executed with the precision demanded by the manager. They controlled the tempo of the game, kept the ball and it didn’t take long for Suarez to open the scoring. He dashed past one defender, nutmeg’d the next and powered it accurately into the bottom corner. From then on, Liverpool, and Suarez in particular, threw West Brom into a rout. In this game alone, two outstanding efforts from our lethal strikeforce, the “SAS”, were tagged instantly as goal-of-the-week contenders; Suarez’s magical header for his second goal and Sturridge’s brilliant chip from outside the box. Liverpool should have kept a clean sheet but a bizarre call for a penalty by the linesman gave Morrison the chance to pull one back for the Baggies. In conclusion, a neat 4-1 victory over the Baggies and we definitely looked a lot more comfortable in the second half as compared to previous games. Gerrard, Henderson and Lucas put in great performances today. What was it you were saying about Gerrard and Hendo again, Fergie?
Next week, we travel to London for the biggest game of the season so far. It’s a chance for us to go top of the table once again as November begins. I predict an insane battle to erupt at The Emirates. It will not be an easy battle, nor will it be a hard one. Arsenal, will be an arduous challenge for the Reds.
Arsenal looks like a title-challenging side this season. Boosted by their star summer addition, Mesut Özil, They’ve won 7 out of their 9 EPL games thus far. A visit to The Emirates is never an easy one, but Liverpool will be happy to know that the only loss Arsenal had this season was at home on the opening day, where they fell 1-3 to Aston Villa. Defeated by Borussia Dortmund in mid-week, Arsenal bounced back in the EPL with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. However, it wasn’t a very convincing win, with Arteta being sent off (after scoring the opener with a penalty) but Giroud managed to wrap the game up in its final stages. Liverpool, on the other hand, dismantled West Brom 4-1. Fans will also be happy to hear that the team we beat today drew 1-1 with Arsenal just 2 games back.
It will be a clash of the titans next weekend, and while its too early to predict the lineups of both teams, you can expect fireworks to go off in almost every inch of the pitch. Of course, Lucas and Gerrard will have to work hard to shut the likes of Ozil and Cazorla down in midfield. That beautiful team link-up play that destroyed Norwich in the game before Crystal Palace keeps replaying in my mind, and i certainly hope Liverpool can shut their midfield down. Also, the defense has to pay attention to the rampaging Welshman Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal’s current top scorer.
On the other end, Mertesacker and co. will have to brace the full force of the “SAS” partnership. Since the return of Suarez, the SAS has struck in every single game. Today, Suarez claimed his first hatrick at Anfield and Sturridge scored once again with a brilliant goal. They will both be entering the clash brimming with confidence. Another delightful news is that Phillipe Coutinho will be returning to the side to face Arsenal. With Coutinho linking up play between Gerrard and Suarez, expect Liverpool to pass the ball fluidly through the gaps of the Arsenal midfield. It will be a bloodbath, but whichever side manages to control the midfield will have the advantage. It will be interesting to see how Rodgers plans to deal with Arsenal’s creative midfield. I believe he will opt for the 3-5-2 system once again, or else it will be a 4-1-2-1-2 formation we were more accustomed to at the start of the campaign.
Our first big test of the season. Come on you reds, show the rest of the league why we should be feared once more. Bring on Arsenal.