When Liverpool lost 3-0 at Old Trafford in mid December any hopes of attaining a top-four spot, let alone achieving successive second-place finishes, were more remote than an Antarctic research station for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
In the aftermath of such a galling loss, leaving Liverpool marooned in 10th, even Rodgers’ most optimistic of forecasts cannot have come close to predicting what has ensued.
Thirteen games later the Reds are yet to taste another Premier League defeat and find themselves fifth, just two points behind Manchester United in fourth, heading into the return fixture at Anfield.
However, after claiming a hard-fought victory at former club Swansea, the Reds boss seemed discontent with the notion of simply trying to make fourth when backpeddling champions Manchester City now reside four points above Liverpool and only one above Arsenal in third.
“Manchester City’s result at the weekend gives us an opportunity to finish second,” Rodgers said.
“Our mentality, the run and confidence we have at the moment we’re just going to take that into every game and see where it takes us.”
Ladbrokes still see Liverpool usurping City in second as a herculean task judging by the 16/1 tag they’ve tacked to it.
However, the team with the best form in the entire top four divions in the land has previous for finishing strongly under Rodgers, and having taken 26 of the last 30 available points it’s a wager which could yet pay handsome dividends.
In each of the two previous campaigns under the Northern Irish tactician, his sides have vastly improved their points tallies post Christmas.
During the 2012/13 season Liverpool collected 11 more points in the second half than the first, losing just twice in their final 16 games, before a 36/48 point split which secured runners-up spot in 2013/14.
Games against United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the run-in are sure to prove pivotal to these ambitions.
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