Liverpool: Brendan's Found Our Best Eleven, Now He Must Stick With It

The Reds are enjoying their best period of the season and scoring goals for fun. The key to keeping this momentum? Play the same starting eleven from now until the end of the season...
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The Reds are enjoying their best period of the season and scoring goals for fun. The key to keeping this momentum? Play the same starting eleven from now until the end of the season...


If Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Spurs last Sunday is to have any lasting worth then we have to capitalise on our current momentum at Southampton this weekend.

Liverpool visit St Mary's in our best form of the season: 3 league victories in succession for the first time under Brendan Rodgers with 12 goals to our credit in those games. Southampton, in contrast, enter the match following two defeats and a scoreless draw.

On this form Liverpool should be able to look at this as an easily winnable game but you only have to look a little deeper to see the falsity of this idea.

While Southampton may reside on the edges of the relegation dogfight, it is only four games since their shock 3-1 victory over Manchester City. Recent history also takes Saints' side - Liverpool have lost 3 of their last 4 visits to Hampshire and have not won four games in a row since February 2011 but since Rodgers is currently chipping away at the negative statistics that have engulfed the start of his Anfield reign (not beaten a top half team, then a top 6, then a top 4, not won 3 in a row) this would seem a perfect opportunity to erase another.

Mauricio Pochettino's appointment to replace the (unfairly) sacked Nigel Adkins may have been controversial but he aspires to a brand of classy football and in Adam Lallana and the Liverpool-born Rickie Lambert he has definite match winners. Liverpool, however, are currently achieving a cohesion and dynamism that seemed to have eluded the team in the earlier part of the season. There is balance and purpose to the team at the moment, match winners in the form of Steven Gerrard and the superlative Luis Suárez, potential and creation in the shape of Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge and our self-inflicted errors appear to have been eradicated.


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We currently sit 7 points from 4th place in the Premier League, albeit having played one game more than those around us. The Champions League looks unlikely but with an easier run in to the end of the season than our fellow challengers there is definite potential for Europa League qualification. Notably both manager and players are now refusing to consider end of season placings, opting instead for the 'take one game at a time and see what happens' philosophy.

Bowing out of the Europa League against Zenit St Petersburg may benefit us in our building toward next season now: the need to only play one game per week is improving the quality of recovery between matches and allowing Rodgers to name a settled side.

This is the key to this weekend and the run in ahead of us. Don't change the team unless forced. We have settled on our strongest starting eleven; the team is developing nicely in the manner that the manager desires; the system makes sense to the players. Now is the time to make alterations only within play, start with our current first choice team and aim to make substitutions from a position of strength to give exposure to the squad members.

Rodgers has spoken this week of his plans for the summer, the intention to bring in 3 or 4 players of the level of quality that Sturridge and Coutinho have brought to the squad. Couple this with his stating that, despite rumours, Sterling and Suso are valued squad members and will not be available for loan and it is clear that preparation for the next campaign is already very much under way with the obvious intention of an improved start next term.

The best way to ensure that improved start is to make it an extension of our form at the end of this season. We take one game at a time. Southampton is the next.