Three reasons Liverpool can finish in the top four
Gregor Vasconcelos takes a look at Liverpool's top-four bid this season
Liverpool have the momentum
Liverpool have plenty of momentum going into the season’s final stretch following their 3-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur last week. They were pushed all the way, but a late winner moved them within a point of their opponents and four of the Champions League spots. Brendan Rodgers’ side have lost one game in 2015 after an extra-time defeat by Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final. In the Premier League, they’ve gone nine unbeaten, their last defeat coming at Manchester United in mid-December. Daniel Sturridge’s return to fitness has been a big boost, whilst Philippe Coutinho has hit top form, providing the cutting edge that evaded Liverpool earlier in the season. The duo will be key to Liverpool going forward and Rodgers will hope his star striker can stay fit for the rest of the campaign.
The Reds have stopped shipping so many goals
For over a year, defensive errors have been a common sight at Anfield. That, however, seems to be slowly going away as Liverpool continue to adjust to playing three at the back. Lucas Leiva has been important and his absence will be sorely missed. Emre Can has slotted in well as part of the back-three alongside Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel. Simon Mignolet, once a disaster waiting to happen, has cut down his errors and finally looks like the goalkeeper who Liverpool signed from Sunderland in 2013. There is still room for improvement, but they’ve kept four clean sheets in their six league games so far this calendar year. That is the same number they had kept in the last 12 Premier League games in 2014.
Their fate is in their own hands
Liverpool may have arguably the most difficult run-in out of their opponents, but that means they only rely on themselves to break into the top four. Although they have already played Spurs twice, they will still face every side above them in the coming months. That will begin on Sunday when they go away to Southampton, then the following weekend they welcome Manchester City to The Etihad. A good couple of results will boost Liverpool’s confidence ahead of the final push. The crucial period will be at the end of March when they host Manchester United and two weeks later travel to Arsenal. The outcome of these four games is likely to define Liverpool’s quest for a top-four finish.