Brendan Rodgers’ side still have to face three of the current top four but five of their fixtures before the end of the season are against teams in the bottom ten. Liverpool have to play West Brom, Queens Park Rangers, Hull and Crystal Palace, who are all struggling for points at the moment and they will be expected to win these matches. If they can do so and avoid defeat against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, then it will be difficult to see Liverpool finishing below fourth. Their run-in towards of the end of the season is also far simpler than that of United, who are their biggest rivals for that final Champions League spot. Louis van Gaal’s side still have to face Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton, and they can’t afford to be dropping too many points in these games. Meanwhile, Southampton are struggling for form at the moment and it appears they are running out of steam. Spurs, on the other hand, have to play seven of their final 11 league matches away from home and their record on the road this season has been inconsistent. Liverpool run-in favours them over their rivals and if they can take their good form into those final matches they should have done enough then to get over the line.
Before last Sunday’s win over City, many would have thought that this would be the end of Liverpool’s unbeaten run. But even during the moments they were under pressure, they showed resilience to not fall behind before they struck back at their opponents. Their performance against City was a perfect example of how good they are now in comparison to the start of the season. Rodgers’ side have shown remarkable improvement since mid-December and after last weekend’s win, they look almost unstoppable now. The biggest obstacle they have in their last ten matches will be Chelsea, who may have won the league title by then. With the fluency, power and pace they are playing with at this moment, it’s difficult to see any of their upcoming opponents beating them. All it takes is one bad result to end all that but if they can get through unscathed until the final two or three league games at least, then they will be on course to securing fourth place.
Some may say that Liverpool are performing excellently as a unit, but even the best teams have standout players that help make that happen. Coutinho is certainly that player for the Reds at the moment. The way in which he drives his side forward in their attacking play is mesmerising to watch. His technique and ability to take on opponents is exquisite and he also scores incredible goals. The Brazilian’s strikes against Bolton Wanderers, Southampton and Manchester City were phenomenal, as well as crucial match-winners. If Luis Suarez was Liverpool’s best player last season, it is certainly Coutinho this time round. Even in the most difficult moments that his side have faced since the start of their unbeaten run, he has carried them through and made the difference. His performances will prove crucial for Liverpool in the last ten matches and if he can continue to blossom as he had done, then Brendan Rodgers’ will be far more difficult to beat in their quest for fourth place.
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