From the depths of midwinter discontent to the shoots of spring; hope springs eternal for Liverpool, whose season looked dead and buried only two months ago. A few experimental tweaks of the backline later however and the Reds now boast one of the meanest defences around. What’s changed?
It all looked so hopeless as the festive period approached. Marooned in mid-table with chronic flaws all over the pitch – toothless in attack, overrun in midfield and hapless in defence – and with an embarrassing exit from the Champions League adding insult to injury, legitimate questions were being asked of Brendan Rodgers’ long-term suitability on Merseyside.
From the ashes of the Basle debacle and humiliation at Old Trafford, performances and results have improved for the Reds. Rodgers has found a way of playing – the 3-4-3 that has been a consistent feature since that 3-0 defeat to Manchester United – which accentuates Liverpool’s attacking strengths, namely pace and movement, and allows for the intense pressing style which has become his hallmark.