Is 4th asking for too much?

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By China Acheru

The cycle revolves again from this weekend. The English Premier League season kicks off and once again Liverpool fans will begin to ask themselves the usual questions.

How far can we go? What is even our target for the season? Is it the League trophy? Will it be a mere title chase, top 4 finish or a Cup win?

Then we must ask again, what are our realistic targets? This is where I hope to share my thoughts because some targets are simply not realistic.

For a Liverpool fan of over thirty years, you’d expect my targets to be unrealistic because some of us just do not want to forget our glory years. You wouldn’t blame us, would you?

I became a fan in the Bob Paisley era when we were winning everything that mattered. Then we won Champions League trophies, League titles, FA Cups, just name it and Liverpool was winning it.

Between the Bob Paisley days and now we have seen a side that won it all crumble to one that has not won the League trophy in 20 years.

We have finished 7th, 5th and 8th on the table in succession. We actually went six years without a trophy of any kind before celebrating a League Cup win.

We have also hired a coach most of the fans thought knew nothing about the way the club played and was kicked out by fans’ action and also brought in one who was a legend in his playing days and first stint with the side as manager yet could not take us past 8th on the table.

Now we have a kid who has no experience managing a club like ours, his biggest ever achievement before now being the Swansea manager… Swansea?

That has been the lot of Liverpool in the last thirty something years, but can Brendan take us back to where we belong? Where can he actually take us?

First things first, I do not believe Liverpool will win the league and I’m not holding my breath. I am not even trying to imagine it.

With all the Liverpool optimism I do not see that happening this season.

Now the next thing will be how far up the table we can be by the end of May.

Is top 4 a realistic target? I think it’s something the club should go for?

Do I think it is possible? Yes, everything is possible but let’s put it into proper perspective- to get into top 4 we would have to knock out one of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal and hope that the likes of Newcastle and Tottenham do not over achieve.

Manchester City seem unstoppable at the moment while it will be unthinkable to even imagine seeing Manchester United finish outside the top 4. If we must get into top 4 it will have to be at the expense of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Chelsea just won the Champions League and FA Cup and they beefed up their squad with the likes of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar.

Arsenal managed to sneak into third place last season and have spent money on the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud while Robin Van Persie just moved to Manchester United and the future of Alex Song lies in the balance.

Can we cash in on the inconsistency surrounding these two London sides and get into top 4? Yes, but we must also get our acts together.

We must also close the gap between ourselves and whoever wins the league.

Last season the winners finished with 83 points and we had just 49 (What a shame); two seasons ago, the winners had 73 points and we had 52. This is not where Liverpool, the Mighty Reds should be.

For a side that finished 8th last term and let go of Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Fabio Aurellio, bringing in Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Assaidi does not exactly make us the stuff of champions overnight.

Then the futures of key players like Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Andy Carroll must be sorted out.

The team needs to know who the team is early enough to start playing like one.

Yes, Brendan has said he will be bringing in three more players before the close of the window and the rumour mills have them as Nuri Sahin, Clint Dempsey, Tello, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott but these are just rumuors.

In the Benitez era, Liverpool beat the other members of the Big 4 (Which we were part of then) but failed to beat the smaller sides.

In the Roy Hodgson era, Liverpool lost to every side that managed a shot at our goal (practically).

In the Kenny Dalglish era it was easier for our players to hit the post than actually score and no, we were no longer mentioned as big 4 in the Kenny Dalglish era.

In the Brendan Rogers era, we expect a different brand of football. We want to possess the ball and frustrate our opponents enough with our possession to actually destroy them and then win.

I expect Brendan to slowly tinker the squad until he gets the right mix. I expect the squad to play as well as they did against Gomel at Anfield in most of the games played.

I expect less balls to hit the post and more to actually go in. I expect Borini, Suarez and Carroll (if he stays) to benefit from our passing game but how far can these take us?

Is 4th place too much to ask? I don’t think so.

You Will Never Walk Alone.

China Acheru

Head of Sports

Cool/Wazobia FM, Port Harcourt



  1. We can compete for top 4 position but we need to be more precise in our finishing and killing off small teams like norwich, swansea, fulham, west brom early in the first half like v did against gomel. Even last year we managed to do well against big clubs only thing we lacked is killer instinct,this year will be different more goals less hitting goal post. There is optimism in the air around anfield and player seems very enthusiastic and in a confident mood abt the start of the season. Top 4 is achievable not impossible. My realistic prediction for this year is one cup win and top four. YNWA

  2. What a nice article.Top is our main target for now although i wud love any oda trophy but am keepin my heart crossed for a top4 finish..i believe in rodgers to take us to our glory days,we re begining to rise again..YNWA

  3. China, exactly my sentiments bro… I just shared exactly the same ideas on my football Blackberry group this morning and it would look like I have read your post before I shared it. Factual, dispassionate and thought provoking… With what I have seen of the Emerging Brendan Rodgers era, we may be that strong dominant team again in 3 years… #YNWA!!!

  4. 6th will be a good achievement (finishing ahead of newcastle). 5th will be a miracle. Cant believe people actually think we’ll finish in or challenge for 4th

  5. Brilliant and sincere post. 4th achieveable but Chelsea, Arsenal and co would have to Stumble. I told friends last year I’d rather be 3rd than win Carlin Cup. Some laughed. But inability to attract top players is solely cos of that. Would Sahin have stalled as reported if Liverpool were in the Champions League? Goodluck anyways

  6. Nice post. I am by no means a Tottenham fan, but where do you honestly rank Liverpool? You mention them needing to over achieve, but at what point do you say they are over acheiving? They have finished ahead of Liverpool in the past few seasons and have certainly spent more wisely.

    This is how I rank the top clubs in England from over the past few seasons. United, City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool.

  7. Under kenny last season IF we’d taken the 30+ chances that hit the woodwork and scored, we’d have made top 4 easy, If Luis hadnt got banned for 8 games, if Lucas hadnt been injured for almost an entire season along with gerrard….if if if……
    Lucas is back…The players who under performed are going one by one,Our system of play is alot easier for the squad to adhere to, because it doesnt change from one game to the next, the players on the pitch might change, but the style of play wont.
    Kennys signings were on the whole, not what Liverpool expect.
    Luis and Enrique being the only real finished article.
    Why was this….?
    Because Kenny hadnt managed a team since the mid 90’s.
    SO he couldnt bring in players he’d worked with.
    Rodgers has the benefit of having worked with Jo allen and Borini, so already he knows what they can achieve in our system, thats the whole point of him spending john henrys money.
    Not just because the media say so n so is in demand.
    How brenden conducts himself with the history of our club is giving new players, (and those) who had an easy ride post rara era, a sense of unity, as he explained, its what we need to compete, if we cant compete financially through not being in the CL.
    He’s doing everything right that Kenny got wrong.
    And lets be frank, everyone has the same chance at the start of the season, previous form counts for something, but a club who under achieved for off the field antics and on the field naivety, with the right tweaks, can prove doubters and the anally realistic wrong.
    Since FSG took over, they have done everything right, the only oversight they made, (through being new to OUR game) was employing a guy the fans wanted(Kenny), they learned from this, and got that sorted employing Rodgers.
    So lets wait n see.
    Too early to be pessamistic.

  8. 4th position is really going to be tough. But I am optimistic we can kick either chelsea or Arsenal out of the top four. With the acquisition of Allen, I just can’t imagine how our midfield would look like. Joe cole, Henderson, Jonjo, Charlie and co really want a chance to prove themselves and is difficult to see if they would get that chance. Let’s just hope Brendan makes the right choice cos I kind of have faith in him.


  9. Let’s say we do mostly the same as last year, losing at City, Spurs, Newcastle, Utd, etc, but we improve some at home, with better finishing. So the home draws against Sunderland, Utd, Norwich, Blackburn and Villa become wins (all games we should and could have won). Turn the muggings at Stoke and Fulham into draws, see out the last 10 minutes at QPR so we win instead of lose.
    That’s an extra 15 points, which would have seen us finish just 2 points off fourth. Obviously still not a CL place (especially with Chelski sneaking the final win, somehow), but a much prettier picture then being 4 points behind Everton.
    So, yes, we *could* do it. If it plays out like that and we may even get some momentum like Newcastle did and pick up some extra points too, but for this season I’ll be happy just to see some progress.
    I love Kenny, always will, but it’s a new era. If we give BR time and support, I’m confident that we’ll be back among the elite within 3 seasons. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it’s the beginning of a new season, so we can all dream!

  10. Great Great Great Piece. Enjoyed every bit and of course learnt some bits.

    I think 4th is taking it too far…. Liverpool’s progression under Rodgers would be gradual.. A 5th/6th place finish this season would be great achievement in my opinion. As long as Rodgers is given the time, Liverpool are on the right track to getting back to where they belong in English football – the top

  11. Your Brendan Rogers has done well to bring in good quality players, fleet-footed and flair-inclined, that can help him prosecute the brand of football he so cherishes. The thought of Jay Spearing, Carragher, Andy Caroll and Jonjo Shelvey as the apostles and enforcers of this pass and move style of the beautiful game made me cringe. Arsene Wenger would tear his hair out at the mention of Spearing.
    So Brendan has bought, and with new players come new personalities in the dressing room. Ego.
    The biggest loser in this revolution is sure to be big Andy Caroll, a massive 6’8 striker worth 35m pounds, whose only talent is attacking balls high up in the sky. If he is not sold, then i wonder how he will be contained in the new set up. I dont imagine that space would be freed up for him in a system he can not play.
    Another big problem is Carragher, a man well gone past his prime. Even in his best days, pace was never his greatest asset and the possession football plays a high line. You need to force your opponents from their defence, which means pushing men upfront. I recall a game in the champions league when a pacey Walcott tore through the entire Liverpool team. You recall that he walked past Carragher in that match. So will Brendan be bold enough to let Carragher walk alone? If he does, will he be able to manage the combustion in the dressing room?
    As a musician, they say your second album is always the most difficult, it is a true test of your mettle. i reckon the same applies for Coaches too. Brendan took an unknown Swansea side into the league last time and captivated everyone with his style of football and short passes. Stoke, Sunderland,Everton, and the rest of the jam-body crew had little knowledge of his team prior to their arrival. Now everyone knows him, i assume he will find his football not so fluid. I have this gut feeling Liverpool will match the number of drawn games they had last season.
    Now to the crunch of your piece, the fantasy of a top four finish. I envy your moderation anyway, I have always held Kopites to be a proud bunch. But NO, Liverpool will not finish in the elite group. A cup win is possible anyway.
    I go with your permutation that only two spots are left to be filled. Interestingly though, four teams have to jostle for them.
    Luckily, all four will be involved in continental football which means equal number of matches.
    Of the four, two have new managers while the other two managers were involved with other teams in the premiership last season. Di Matteo shldnt be regarded as new in the sense of the word.
    Crucially, of all four teams, only Arsene Wenger will not be trying to impose a new style of play on his side. With the kind of players bought by Chelsea, you feel that something new is about to happen there. As we know with Villas Boas’ failed attempt to cross the Bridge, he likes his team to play in a certain way. Luckily for him, he will find Tottenham a better ground than Chelsea. They have the dough already, he only needs to mould. For Liverpool, the high managerial turn-over at Anfield has seen an evolution of different species of football at the club in the last five years. This in my opinion has greatly affected their fortunes and is set to continue this season.
    Making the transition from a high-ball playing side to a short-ball playing side doesn’t come easy, it may take at least six months before the embryo even begins to form. Ground will be lost in that time, i fear they will recover too late to make a difference.How will you react when you go 0-1 down at Anfield against Stoke? Do you keep your shape, do you alter things? So you see, Arsenal’s stability in style of play and manager, might just be the difference, even if its goal-difference.

  12. Well written article :-)

    ”I expect less balls to hit the post and more to actually go in. I expect Borini, Suarez and Carroll (if he stays) to benefit from our passing game ..”

    Add another stricker and more wins at Anfield. We have 19 home games? Say we win (or should win) 15 of them… thats a total of 45 points. (Last year we finished on 49) With 20 away points we go into the top 4.

    OUR PROBLEM THE LAST 20 YEARS HAS BEEN THE POINTS WE COLLECT AT HOME. Change that and we are back to bussiness.


  13. I know its achievable but I m gonna keep my fingers crossed and watch our games as d season goes by.I have strong feeling Brendan would only go for players that are match ready and match worthy in the squad,he wouldn’t play players out of position just like Kenny

  14. I’ve been watching a lot lately and don’t know much about it. Im really into it and am just lookin for advice. passionate fans and crowds are something that are important to keep in mind.

  15. When people talk about the Liverpool midfield I try not to laugh. Jonjo shelvey? Jay Spearing? Joe Cole? Henderson? Lucas? Allen? How do these stand with Silva, Nasri, Yaya and De Jong? How do they stand with Ramires, Mikel, Lampard and Oscar?
    Now you all see what i mean. With Sahin, a goal poacher and a winger who can cross the ball i believe we will be almost there. For now, I see BR has not even solved our goal scoring problems

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