Liverpool have almost completed a tricky run of league games, a sequence in which they started off as outsiders for a top four finish, and now find themselves with only the FA Cup left to play for.
Their inconsistency in the league hadn’t been an issue as such before Arsenal’s fortunes turned around in recent games. As the business part of the campaign got underway Liverpool’s rivals for a top four finish reacted to the season thus far in different ways – Chelsea changed its manager while Arsenal established a ten point advantage over Liverpool, helped by three points at Anfield thanks to a last minute winner last weekend.
Liverpool won the Carling Cup and with it a place in next season’s Europa League, but had they got themselves into a stronger position after six months of the season then they probably could have afforded three consecutive defeats, including the one against Arsenal.
Kenny Dalglish’s comments after yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland suggested he would have happily taken a point, when a predictable share of the spoils for them at the Stadium of Light in March, while seventh in the table, (with all respect to the Black Cats) wouldn’t have taken them very far.
“I don’t think it was much of a game and the only difference between a draw and a win was a bit of good fortune for them,” said Dalglish after Nicklas Bendtner’s second half winner consigned his team to a seventh league defeat in 14 away games.