Liverpool must secure ‘Fortress Anfield’ against Arsenal
Liverpool’s home form this season has been fantastic, dropping points in just two games—a defeat against Southampton, and draw against Aston Villa. However, that ‘Fortress Anfield’ record is slightly tainted by the fact that out of the big teams, only Manchester United have come to Liverpool this season, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham all still to make the visit to Merseyside.
February 7th, 2014
United’s defeat at Liverpool back in September was lazily put down as teething problems for David Moyes—problems which continue now, in February.
It has called for some sceptics to pardon Liverpool’s title or top four credentials, citing their defeats at the Emirates, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium as reasons why the Reds can’t be taken seriously yet.
That was until last week, when Liverpool swept aside Everton in style. There are few bigger games in a Premier League season, if any, than playing your local rivals.
With the excellent form the Toffees have experienced this season, this Merseyside derby was closer than ever. Both teams have exchanged fourth and fifth spot in the league table several times this season, and shared a ferocious 3-3 draw at Goodison Park back in November.
With the Kop in full voice, fans and players rallied to sink Roberto Martinez’s men with fine goals from Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge (twice) and Luis Suarez.
It was a performance and result that sent out a warning signal to the rest of the league’s top sides—that if Liverpool aren’t going to win the league, they’re going to have a big say in it – that starts with Arsenal’s visit this weekend.
Liverpool must raise their game, and the fans must raise the roof in this Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off to continue the statement of intent they started against Everton last week.
Suarez, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling are beginning to show the signs of being a formidable attacking three for the Reds—with 37 goals between Suarez and Sturridge already this season.
At the back though, Liverpool continue to struggle—not helped by a succession of injury problems. No Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique or Mamadou Sakho means arguably an entire first choice back-line is missing in action.
Victory would take Liverpool to within five points of the Gunners, with 13 games left to play.
Just as importantly, a win against the team which has led the chasing pack for most of the season would surely demonstrate Liverpool’s capabilities to break the top three.
Manchester City and Chelsea will be watching with close intent.