Second place, 15 matches played, 30 points, and a goal difference of +16. With four games left to go until the mid-season (and the January transfer window), Liverpool so far look in pretty good shape this 2013/14 Premier League season.
Their average of two points per game, if extended over the course a 38-game season, has historically been enough to secure a top-four spot by the end of the season—which, besides launching Liverpool back into the Champions League spotlight, should also be enough to secure Luis Suarez’s future at Anfield.
Before we look ahead to next May, however, let’s first acknowledge the obstacles to the Reds finishing their first half of the season in the top four—and there are many.
Starting with their remaining four fixtures in a busy December period—Tottenham Hotspur (away), Cardiff City (home), Manchester City (away), Chelsea (away), the latter two coming in the space of three days.
With Jose Enrique and Daniel Sturridge both out until at least January and Steven Gerrard sidelined for the Christmas period with a hamstring injury, according to the Telegraph, Liverpool’s problems are as much on the treatment table as they are with the fixture list.
But this is also a crucial period where Brendan Rodgers’ team will be tested on their ability to stay near the top, and where preliminary conclusions may yet be drawn about their quest to return to Europe.
Here are five ways Liverpool should approach a tough December ahead of them and still fly high in the top four come the start of January.