The potential of being top of the league on Christmas Day is swarming the halls of Anfield with excitement.
Depending on the result of Arsenal’s game against Chelsea tonight, Liverpool could lead the pack on Boxing Day before their visit to Manchester City.
It’s a situation that excites all concerned with the club but also one that calls for focus so the threat of complacency doesn’t creep into performances. It threatened to show itself in the opening stages of Saturday’s victory over Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon but, thanks to an opening goal, was quickly eradicated from Liverpool’s play.
Instead it was replaced with confidence and a swagger that suggested this was a team playing some of its finest football all season. However, early doors and it seemed the confidence gained from the 5-0 win at Tottenham a week previous had gone to a few players heads.
Jon Flanagan, who opened his Liverpool account in North London last Sunday, had another notable game but was beaten a little too easily by Cardiff winger Craig Noone in the opening stages. The slick passing game that has become commonplace under Brendan Rodgers failed to get started and supply from the usually reliable Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and even Luis Suarez were going astray and gifting the ball back to the Bluebirds. Even the opening goal started with a bad pass from Suarez that fortunately fell kindly again for the Uruguayan to find Henderson who set up the league’s top scorer for another post on the score sheet.
From then on it was more like the Liverpool that avenged the defeat at Hull City with fourteen goals in three games as the creativity, movement and speed of our play suddenly improved. This continued through to the second half as chances were created but not put away.
Cardiff’s consolation came against the run of play but they dominated proceedings for around fifteen to twenty minutes following Jordan Mutch’s header. The fact that we steadied the tide of Welsh pressure and gradually slowed the game down is a slight positive but our vulnerability from set pieces that troubled us throughout will have concerned Rodgers.
Saturday’s victory, overall, was another impressive performance and one that, potentially, has put us at the top of the tree before our most challenging three days of the season so far.
The win over Cardiff has shown the rest of the league that when in full flow this Liverpool side can be ruthless. At the same time, it has shown this Liverpool team that they can ill afford any lapses in concentration with tougher opponents immediately around the corner.