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Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 7:13:36 AM
by jagdev singh sidhu
Steven Gerrard has adapted his game to suit his age and Liverpool's needs. He now plays deeper and is able to shield the defence by breaking up play. - AFP Photo
UNDEFEATED. Top of the league.
I have probably jinxed things but it’s been a long time since Liverpool fans have had bragging rights this early in the season.
The reason for optimism has been the sturdy play of the team in the first three games. All teams want to keep a clean sheet first and foremost and one of the main reasons why Liverpool have managed to do that is Steven Gerrard.
The captain is ageing but he has aptly adapted his game to suit the requirements of the team. Standing side by side with Lucas Leiva, Gerrard has been able to shield the defence by breaking up play and being a lot more responsible position-wise than he was in the past.
The knock on Gerrard was that he is more of an attacking midfielder and really doesn’t have the positional discipline to play in midfield.
But tactically, Gerrard has shown that he does, and the one weapon he brings to the team from a deeper position at his advancing age is his ability to pass the ball.
It has allowed Liverpool to get forward faster and launch attacks from deep without losing their defensive shape. Plus, Gerrard has really put in a defensive shift when playing, evident by his terrific play against Manchester United.
But the optimism will now be tested against Swansea City for their game on Monday (Tuesday morning Malaysia time). Swansea won their first game in the previous round by defeating West Brom 2-0 at the Hawthorns.
That victory will boost the fragile confidence at the Liberty Stadium but the home form of the Swans is still bad as they have won just two of their last six home games.
For Liverpool, injuries to Glen Johnson and possibly Kolo Toure will mean that Martin Skrtel, who did well against Manchester United, might get another chance to start. It will bear watching though if Brendan Rodgers gives new big signing Mamadou Sakho his start in defence.
Liverpool will be sweating on Daniel Sturridge’s fitness for the game and should he be unfit, there will be a reshuffle in attack whereby Iago Aspas might get the nod upfront.
It will also be interesting to see if on-loan Victor Moses gets to start in attack. Should that happen, and if Sturridge is fit, the odds are for Jordan Henderson will be warming the bench.
Whatever the case, there could be a great number of changes in Liverpool’s lineup. Should Liverpool win, it will be the first time since the Premiership was formed that the team have won four straight games from the start of a season.
The odds of that happening are high and I do expect the Reds to bag three points against Swansea. As for the score, can you pick anything but another 1-0 victory?
Jagdev Singh Sidhu feels there is a nice balance to the squad Rodgers has assembled this season.
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football, Liverpool, Steven Gerrard, Red2TheCore, Jagdev Singh Sidhu, EPL, English Premier League
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