After some disastrous results Liverpool have finally had some good times with back to back wins against Stoke City and Leicester City. This weekend they play against Sunderland and a positive result would round off the best week for them till now this season. There were a section of the media and the fans demanding for Brendan Rodgers’ head and he would be able to shut his critics at least for the time being with a win over the Black Cats. The players would gain a lot of confidence and this would prepare them well for their must win encounter against Basel next in the Champions League. This week could kickstart Liverpool’s season and we provide three talking points from the game from Liverpool’s point of view.
Lambert’s current form:
Mario Balotelli was in awful form for the Reds in the matches that he played. His injury has been a boon in disguise for the manager as he was able to test Rickie Lambert in attack. The former Southampton star has done justice to his role in the front making a positive impact and being involved in the game a lot more than the talismanic Italian. With his current form Lambert should be in the first team ahead of Balotelli any day and he has the chance to further establish himself against Sunderland.
Then the question will arise in due course of time as to who should be the primary striking choice for Liverpool when the Italian comes back. The former City man would not be able to take his position for granted and would need to fight for his place in the team before Daniel Sturridge arrives on the scene.
Liverpool were able to maintain a cleansheet against Stoke last weekend, a rare feat achieved by them. Against Leicester they conceded only once and even that could be held as an unfortunate goal. These indicate that the defence is improving and now the team need to consolidate on that. Against Sunderland they should also attempt to keep a cleansheet and thus take a serious step forward. The defence has been letting them down for a long time now and if they can ensure the rigidity at the back, then automatically the team would improve by the day.
Steven Gerrard factor
The manager has been criticized from a lot of quarters for overusing Steven Gerrard. The 34 year old has been practically playing each game, thus taking a toll on his performance. Rodgers must decide what to do with his skipper in the game against Sunderland, keeping in mind the important Champions League game coming up in midweek. The Liverpool squad is a huge one, although many may argue that there have been no adequate replacements for Gerrard as of yet. But against second strings teams like Sunderland, Gerrrad should be on the bench giving the nod to the likes of Can and Lucas who can take up the pivot role along side Allen and Henderson.