Just 11 weeks ago, Liverpool endured one of the worst defeats in their history. A 6-1 defeat against Stoke City in the final game of the previous campaign still lingers in the memory of everyone concerned with Liverpool. It was one of the shambolic performances seen from the team. Many feared that it would be the last action for Brendan Rodgers as the manager of Liverpool. However, it was not to be and the Northern Irishman stayed on to get the best possible revenge – a 1-0 win over Stoke at the Britannia stadium.
For long periods of the match, it looked like Liverpool would not be able to find a way past the stubborn defence of the home team. Philippe Coutinho has a tendency to come up with something special in the tight games and he did that once again on Sunday after scoring the only goal that brought the club a 1-0 victory against Stoke City. His goal came with just four minutes of normal time remaining and Rodgers claimed that he was even thinking about taking off the Brazilian. Rodgers said:
“You have to keep him on the pitch as long as you can because he has that moment.
“I am glad I kept him on but I can’t profess to be any sort of genius. It was fortunate he got the goal and he stayed on.
“He did well to last the match because he has only been back from the Copa America for three weeks. He did well to turn Steve Sidwell with a wonderful touch. To beat Jack Butland shows the real quality of the goal.”
Liverpool’s failure to achieve Champions League qualification for this season was largely down to the poor start. A run of just two wins in the opening five matches last season was never going to be sufficient to beat the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal to the top four spot. Compared with this poor start, a slender 1-0 victory does not do much to increase the confidence. The team has to go a long way before having the swagger to beat the top teams.
Climbing the table to reach the top four in the business end of the season is certainly becoming an impossible task in the Premier League, as the competition becomes extremely intense. Therefore, maintaining a sufficient form right from the start is probably the only way to go. Rodgers is likely to be aware that he does not have a long time left at Anfield if results continue to be poor. Hence, this 1-0 victory could not have come at a much better time for the team.
It provides significant amount of confidence to take into the upcoming games. Liverpool take on AFC Bournemouth next week and the Reds are at Anfield for the first home league match of the season. The Premier League new boys came very close to getting a positive result against Aston Villa in their first match, but it was not to be after losing 1-0. Still, they will be a tough opposition nonetheless.