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Reds' form no flash in the pan

Liverpool FanZoner Richard Garnett is enjoying looking at the league table and feels the Reds' form is more than just a flash in the pan.

Last Updated: 20/09/13 at 13:13 Post Comment

Brendan Rodgers: Has brought in hungry players such as Daniel Sturridge

Brendan Rodgers: Has brought in hungry players such as Daniel Sturridge

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In recent weeks, a once favoured past time has resurfaced on Merseyside, that of making regular admiring glances at the league table.

In the 80s, this was something that was taken for granted and although Liverpool have returned to the summit on a few occasions since then (albeit briefly), there is a certain novelty and pride about seeing the grand old club sitting at the top of the tree today.

Brendan Rodgers' reinvigorated side dropped their first points of the season on Monday night against an evolving Swansea City side who earned a draw courtesy of the best and worst of Jonjo Shelvey.

Everything you needed to know about the former Liverpool midfielder was exhibited in a bizarre 90 minutes in which he scored a goal, gifted two back to Liverpool and got an assist for the equaliser.

High entertainment value indeed, but not exactly the level of dependability Liverpool crave in a team built around controlling the ball (good luck Swansea!).

The draw itself may have brought initial disappointment that the 100% start to the season was over, but on reflection it was a good point and one that importantly keeps the Reds at the top of the tree going into this weekend.

The loss of Philippe Coutinho until late October is a major blow for Liverpool and the absence of his influence was all too apparent after he was substituted early in the second half at the Liberty Stadium.

Iago Aspas had impressed pre-season with an incredible goal return, but the former Celta Vigo man has yet to break his Premier League duck thus far and failed to make any impact when deputising for Coutinho against the Swans.

Concern for the absence of the little Brazilian is softened, however, by the imminent return of Luis Suarez, with Rodgers insistent that his first team integration will be seamless.

Undoubtedly, Suarez was someone who benefited from the international break with two competitive matches for Uruguay providing a platform to regain match fitness after his lengthy suspension.

There was a point last season where Suarez was Liverpool's only fit recognised striker, as he dragged the team with his goals to top-10 respectability.

But what has happened since then is a clear indication of how Rodgers' side has developed and improved over the last 12 months - and goes some way to explaining why they are top of the Premier League.

With Daniel Sturridge seizing his chance to become Anfield's new goal machine, the reliance on Suarez has diminished.

The welcome addition of Victor Moses from Liverpool's new feeder club, Chelsea, has delivered an attacking flexibility that has been missing for many a campaign.

Moses, Sturridge, Suarez and Coutinho with the further options of Aspas and Sterling form an exciting attack that will trouble defences all season.

Significantly, it also suggests that Rodgers has dealt shrewdly in the transfer market - identifying hungry players who may not have fully realised their potential and provided them with the platform to take their game to the next level.

Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish has spoken out about his second managerial stint at Anfield and says that he over-achieved by getting to Wembley three times.

Whether you agree with that notion or not, the decision to ditch him for Rodgers is beginning to look like it might just pay off.

He has the respect of the players who he has shown his belief in and the players are now prepared to run though brick walls for him.

One of the main problems with recent Premier League campaigns has been a slow start which has hampered later efforts to climb the table. No such problem this year.

Furthermore, Liverpool now begin a run of fixtures that present them with an opportunity to prolong their stay at the top of the table or even extend their lead.

An away trip to Sunderland sandwiched between home games against Southampton and Crystal Palace provides an incentive to gather maximum points and convince sceptical onlookers that the Reds' league position is more than just a flash in the pan.

Throw into the mix a mouth-watering league cup tie with Manchester United and the next month looks like an exciting one to be a Liverpool supporter. Just keeping checking that league table.

You can find Richard on Twitter @garnster - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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