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Liverpool Turn The Corner Against Swansea

 Posted by on September 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Sep 162013

In his first match against Liverpool since being sold over the summer, Jonjo Shelvey looked eager to impress.

The young English international opened the scoring at the Liberty Stadium just two minutes into the match. Two minutes after that he played an ill advised back pass that was picked off by Daniel Sturridge and converted to level the score at 1-1. He went on to gift Liverpool a second goal with another poor pass in the 36th minute before setting up Michu in the 64th. He was very much the talk of the match and rightly so given his involvement in all four goals.

As memorable as his performance was (for good or bad reasons), it is not the biggest takeaway from Monday’s match.

When we look back on this match at the end of the marathon that is the English Premier League season, we may just see a turning point; a moment that everyone points to and says “THAT was the moment Liverpool got back in the spotlight”.

This match looked like a classic letdown. Liverpool had just defeated Manchester United 1-0 and emotions were riding high after the club’s best start to the season since 1990-91. Next up was Brendan Rodgers’ former squad and a former Liverpool player desperate to prove himself. Daniel Agger, by far the best defender on the roster, was out after picking up a knock in training. That meant a starting center back pairing of Martin Skrtel, the subject of transfer rumors all summer, and new signing Mamadou Sakho with the raw, unproven Andre Wisdom starting in place of the injured Glen Johnson.

The 2-2 draw was a pretty fair result. Liverpool’s midfield gave way to Swansea in the second half after Philippe Coutinho departed in the first half with an injured shoulder. It took everything the Reds had to hang on and scrape a point. Now, this doesn’t sound like a huge, momentum swinging moment until you consider some of the other results around the league.

Chelsea were defeated by Everton and Manchester City were held to a scoreless draw with Stoke City. Those are the kinds of results that traditionally prevent teams from winning the title come May. They’re the kinds of results Manchester United used to consistently escape while Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge. And speaking of Manchester United, they didn’t exactly look impressive against Crystal Palace before a red card late in the first half gave them new life. One month into the season, the EPL title race looks wide open with six legitimate contenders in both Manchesters, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and even Tottenham. I’m even willing to give Everton an outside shot at the Top 4 this season.

Monday’s draw also comes at a great time for Liverpool. With no European competitions to distract, they can now focus solely on their next three opponents: Southampton, Sunderland, and Crystal Palace. Those are three very winnable matches for Brendan Rodgers and company. And that’s before I remind you that Luis Suarez is due back from his suspension in the middle of that stretch. With legitimate depth in his squad and a favorable schedule over the next couple weeks, Brendan Rodgers have a tremendous opportunity to firmly place Liverpool in the driver’s seat for not just a Top 4 finish, but an EPL title.

Granted, we don’t know the extent of Coutinho’s injury and the central midfield trio of Steven Gerrard, Lucas, and Jordan Henderson let Shelvey run through, over, and around them in the second half. Glen Johnson won’t be back for a little while and I don’t trust Wisdom as a suitable replacement.

Nevertheless, if Liverpool take off and win these next three matches to solidify a spot in the Top 4 before facing Arsenal in early November Monday’s draw can be the moment everyone looks back on as the moment they turned the corner and put themselves back in the spotlight. In the EPL marathon, every hard fought draw away from home against a “weaker opponent” (in the eyes of a title contender) is critical. Points must be taken at all costs, especially when your direct rivals drop them.

Sit tight Reds fan. The next couple months could be even better than the first one.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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