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"What is a realistic expectation for the next two games?"

    Liverpool go into the Festive Fixtures sitting pretty on top of the Premier League. However, in the space of four days they now face arguably the two most difficult fixtures in English football. Manchester City have a 100% home record this season and have hammered several top sides, whilst Chelsea have never lost a Premier League home fixture under Jose Mourinho. So what is a realistic expectation for Liverpool from these two massive games?

     


I think the expectations of some fans have risen above what they should. These two games won’t define our season but will set the expectations of supporters for the rest of it.

 

I have seen people on social media saying a title challenge depends of these games. I can see where they’re coming from; if we somehow managed to bag 6 points then I think we could dare to dream of placing somewhere in the top 3, but this season 4th is the only priority for me. Jumping from 7th to 1st or 2nd will be too much of a big step in my opinion.

 

Let’s start with a tough fixture against City. Liverpool fans should not expect much, but be optimistic. City are the highest scorers in the league with 51 goals; averaging 3 goals per game. Vincent Kompany has recently returned who we all know is top class. They are undefeated at home in the league and have shown they can score numerous goals at the Etihad; thrashing the likes of Norwich 7-0, and slotting 6 past Arsenal and Spurs. Luckily for us they are missing Zabaleta, Richards and Aguero, with Jovetic and Nastasic doubtful.

 

With the way we have been playing, and with Suarez being absolutely sublime, we can go there and definitely get a draw if we play with the same intensity and boldness that we did against Spurs, but I wouldn't be too disheartened with a loss.

 

Onto Chelsea and I am feeling more confident with this one. Chelsea look fragile at the back, whilst in turn we look superb in the attack. They have leaked three goals to Stoke and Sunderland, two to WBA and Newcastle and a further two to Sunderland in the League cup. On the whole, Chelsea haven’t convinced me this season to be a title winning team and I feel as long as we take the game to them from the start I think we can obtain the three points. We always seem to do well at Stamford Bridge!

 

That’s 3/4 points leaving us with 39/40 after 19 games. That would stand us in good stead for 2014.

 

Owen Morris

 


 

On December 1 we had a very disappointing display away at Hull City and there was a real worry that our form was going into decline. Since that loss, however, the team has shown what it is capable of and now finds itself top of the table.  

 

People like Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen have put in some excellent displays, whilst Luis Suarez has now unquestionably become one of the world's best players. When you have him in your team, you can achieve anything. Since Hull, Suarez has played four games and scored nine goals, a remarkable return for anyone in football.

 

Suarez may be in great form, but so are Manchester City. Unbeaten in their last nine, including a fantastic win at the Allianz Arena where they came from two goals down to win 3-2 at the home of the German, European & now World Club Champions so we will have to be on top form to get any sort of result at the Etihad. But on our side are the most inform striker in world football and in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in the league in Simon Mignolet.

 

Chelsea on the other hand could be a completely different game.  Yes they have a fantastic squad with superb depth and one of the best managers in world football, but Chelsea have been so unpredictable this season and have lost three times in the league this season. They are still unbeaten at home though, helped by a few dodgy decisions here and there. Ramires vs West Brom for example.

 

It all depends on how we line up in my opinion, some days everything just seems right, but on another day you feel after five minutes that the passing, shooting, movement etc is off and we look leggy, which never bodes well in the Premier League. We could be top of the league going into these two games so that puts us in good stead. I feel a realistic expectation is 4/6 points, a win at Chelsea and a draw at City.

 

Thomas Kayll

 


 

The Arsenal Chelsea stalemate allowed us to celebrate being top at Christmas and sparked a Twitter and Facebook eruption of people scrambling for stats. Most notably: those at the top on Christmas day have finished in the top four in all of the past 15 seasons. 

 

But Liverpool won’t care about stats they’ll be focusing on running off their Christmas turkeys in their most perilous away game of the season at the Etihad. City have been irresistible at home and have not only knocked a shed full of goals past Norwich, something we are very used to, but have also pummelled six past Arsenal and Spurs in extravagant fashion.

 

This fixture has had a trend of ending 2-2 in recent years but this time around I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. The current form of our midfield and attack is promising and I think we’ll get a goal or two, more than likely coming from everybody’s dream team captain Suarez, but our defensive frailties will cost us more than ever at the home of the Citizens. We are boosted by City not being able to field the firepower of Aguero, and usually-reliable fullback Zabaleta which will likely see them start with Clichy and Kolarov once again.

 

This will be our chance I think, exploiting our pace out wide and then feeding our killer instincts in the middle. We’ll give them a better game than anyone else so far but I can only predict a 3-2 or 4-2 City win with an optimistic point available. 

 

You’d think we’d have better chance at Stamford Bridge? Well let me refer to statistics once more: Chelsea have not lost a Premier League game at home under the management of Mourinho. Can Liverpool break his record? Of course we can. Liverpool always go to Chelsea and put on a show and the blues don’t particularly like us as guests. They haven’t been very convincing this season and I think we can take something here. A point is fine. A win is a bonus and a statement. 

 

Two difficult games, two points will be an accomplishment. 

 

Shaun Harrison


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The City game really could go anyway, their defence is very patchy at the moment up against the best player in the world on current form plus Coutinho who is a problem for anyone and Henderson and Sterling who are also playing very well, not to mention neither of their goalkeepers seem to have the confidence of the manager, I think a few people are going over the top on our defence being a major issue but it is certainly not our strongest area and Flanno's injury throws a spanner in the works with all potential replacements Agger(centre back) Cissokho(can't defend), Kelly(still looks miles of the pace), Smith (never played a first team game) having their drawbacks, not to mention their attack is also very very good particularly at home, there will be chances for both teams so I suspect its all down to who is more clinical on the day

 

Chelsea for whatever reason I am really confident about this one, Mourinho doesn't tend to do losing home games but I don't think I've seen one game where I've been really convinced by Chelsea this season, their back 4 is very slow and I think that will play into the hands of our attack, and they don't make full use of Mata, the massive mongs

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Manchester City look frighteningly good at home this season. And Chelsea, under Mourinho, know how to grind out results (shame on him, by the way, for having all those players at his disposal and sending them out to play soulless, dull football). 

 

My best guess is one point, I'm afraid. A loss at the Etihad and a draw at Stamford Bridge. 

 

However... my best guess, on the back of six straight losses, was a point at White Hart Lane. And then we hammered them 5-0. This is precisely why this is the beautiful game. You have expectations, and all the rest of it, but occasionally something comes along and takes your breath away.

 

Nothing is ever conceded before a ball is kicked. The reds are coming up the hill and playing with a bit of a swagger at the moment. I can't wait to see what happens.

 

Come on Liverpool! 

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Without being too negative I think most of us would agree that both our squad and first team still have major weak points. As we have maybe even clearer strengths. I think most would agree also that we are definately moving in the right direction. And at decent pace our financials taken into consideration.

 

So the main question for me is just how far have we come yet? I believe the answer is not as far as the league table would indicate at the moment. So losses at two of the toughest away grounds in the league will not be a big shock, but of course I hope we'll be able to put up a fight and if my predictions are proven too negative then brilliant!

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A realistic expectation is a point, with a chance to grab three, and performances that indicate that the players who can trounce the likes of Norwich can be competitive against more organised sides with better squads.

 

This league's just too unpredictable this years though, which is what makes it great to watch.

 

I thought our midfield would be bossed by Spurs' and that we'd slide to a mundane defeat.

 

Right now i just want to see us being competitive and showing that we won't crumble in the second half of the season. Points would be great, but as highlighted, these are the two toughest fixtures and before the season started no one expected to be top of the league and potentially bullying the big spenders. A win in either game would be a bonus, but playing well is a must.

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