Prior to today, Liverpool had only won two league games at Anfield in 2012- a rather dismal statistic considering that during their 120 year stint at Anfield, there have been seven seasons in which Liverpool have not lost a single game in front of the Kop, the latest being the 2008/2009 season, and Liverpool’s longest streak of avoiding losses at Anfield lasted for three years (Jan 1978- Jan 1981).
The arrival of manager Brendan Rodgers prior to the 2012/2013 season was part of a new ‘revolution’ at Liverpool Football Club, with the goal being the laying down of foundations that will allow the historically successful club to return to its former glory. The arrival of a new manager naturally induces a new sense of hope among the fans- a hope that Liverpool can challenge for the Premier League title among the big clubs of London and Manchester. Although this hope is perhaps not so realistic, fans of the club will have been somewhat disheartened to go into the game against Reading today with only six points from seven Premier League games.
Despite this poor form, through the documentation of Liverpool’s start to the season on Being: Liverpool FC, televised on Channel 5 at 9.00pm on Fridays in the UK, it is clear to fans that Rodgers is passionate about his plan to help the club in its quest for success. The series documents team meetings, training sessions and half-time talks in which Rodgers’ motivating and supportive persona is clear to
see. In a pre-match interview reported by the Liverpool Echo, Brendan Rodgers acknowledged Liverpool’s lack of recent wins at Anfield, and expressed his belief that once the reds have gained their first 3 league points at home, they will hopefully be able to ‘fly from there’, saying ‘we really want to make our home ground a fortress.’
Raheem Stirling’s 29th minute goal secured Liverpool this longed-for first home game league victory of the season against Reading today. Although Rodgers hopes this will give the club the major boost they need, it is hard to believe that they will be able to ‘fly’ quite as he suggests. Liverpool have dominated multiple league games this season, have looked comfortable in possession and have created numerous chances. However, they have not converted their goal-scoring opportunities: failure to score goals directly causes the failure to win games. Particular attention is drawn to striker Luis Suarez, who has as many shots off target as he has on target in his Premier League campaign so far. Today’s game was no different: chances repeatedly came and went for the reds as Liverpool had 23 shots, as opposed to Reading’s 8, with 13 of them on target. Despite this, they were unable to increase on their early 1-0 lead, leading to a nervous final third of the game. Goal keeper Brad Jones stepped in for the injured Pepe Reina, making a couple decent saves to maintain Liverpool’s lead, and secure the three points. Had Jones not pulled off these saves, we could have seen Liverpool throw away more precious points because of their failure to find the back of the net.
Following the win, Liverpool climb to 11th in the league, and we can only hope, along with Rodgers, that they will be able to continue their flight up the table.